Cemetery vandalized in Greenville Co., reward offered for info

News

Another Upstate church has been hit by vandals. This time, dozens of historical grave sites were disturbed and families were left with hurting hearts.

It happened at the cemetery next to Mt Lebanon Baptist Church in Greer.

7 News spoke with the church’s pastor and those who came to check on their loved ones’ final resting place.

“How do people do this? There’s nothing to gain,” Renea Smith said.

Those were the first thoughts Renea Smith had on her way to the cemetery on Wednesday to check on her mom and grandparents after learning close to 30 headstones were knocked over, broken, or otherwise vandalized over the weekend.

“I was brought up with respect–to be respectful to my elders, others, the church, and, most definitely, the deceased,” she said.

And Smith wasn’t alone. Dozens of people stopped by to check on their loved ones’ graves.

“Heartbroken. Weeping,” Mark Smith said.

Most of the affected grave sites are from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, with one being a baby’s headstone. The vandals broke the head off of a stone lamb.

“The child was less than a year old when it was buried. And the caption underneath was just very personal about the baby,” Mark Smith said. “What satisfaction do you get from that? How does that make a difference in your life?”

“That baby and that baby’s family did not deserve that,” Renea Smith added.

Community members still can’t understand a motive for the disrespectful acts, but they believe it may have happened on Friday the 13th.

“There’s something missing in their life. They’re looking for something,” Mark Smith said. “I and my church would love the opportunity to sit down with them.”

While the physical harm was only done to the markers of the deceased, the emotional pain felt by the families and loved ones left behind is lasting.

“I know you’re not here in this earth and I know you’re not a part of this piece of stone, but I love you and this is my way to have a place just to go and show that,” Renea Smith said.

Pastor Mark Smith told 7 News he hopes the vandal or vandals will come forward to confess and apologize.

It’s unclear, right now, how much the damage will cost them, but the church plans to pay for the repairs of the affected grave sites.

After watching our story, a 7 News viewer is now offering a $500 reward for any credible information that could lead to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for these crimes. You can call Greenville Crimestoppers.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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