Families Upset After Finding Tombstones Vandalized At OKC Cemetery

Monday, November 3rd 2014, 6:42 pm
By: News 9

It was a shocking discovery for many families who noticed the tombstones of loved ones were recently overturned at an Oklahoma City cemetery.

"I don't understand why people don't respect other people's property anymore,” said Ann McLaughlin.

McLaughlin and her sister June Proctor showed up frustrated to Britton Cemetery on Monday after she learned that three family headstones were damaged; one dating back to 1922.

"I remember stones that were old when I was a little thing, and I'm almost 80," said McLaughlin, who has several relatives buried there, including her mother and two brothers.

Toppled tombstones covered dozens of rows at the historic cemetery, that's been around since 1891 in the once town of Britton. The Britton Cemetery Association said it first noticed the damage on Oct. 13 and suspect some local teenagers may have caused it days before.

"I was very disappointed because it happened again. This was about the third in the last 10 years that we've had this exact vandalism of people coming in and pushing over the stones," said Tom Demuth of Demuth Funeral Home, who also manages the Britton Cemetery.

Staff with Central Burial Vaults inspected the cemetery and counted more than 30 overturned headstones. Although the Britton Cemetery Association is a small non-profit, it plans foot the costly repairs.

"It's senseless, any vandalism is, but when you come into a cemetery, which is supposed to be a sacred and respectful place, and you have people who have no respect for that, it makes it even worse," Demuth said.

The cemetery doesn't have a secure gate, so many fear this will happen again.

“I don't think there's anything, a taller fence isn't going to make a difference, you know. If they want to get in here and do something like that, they're going to do it" said June Proctor.

If the weather permits, workers say they will be back on Tuesday to repair the dozens of damaged headstones.

Oklahoma City Police says officers were dispatched to the cemetery last month, but a police report was not made.

Learn more about how you can help with the tombstone repair costs.