UPDATE 5/15: Deputies have accounted for several tombstones in Union County after markers were found in a wooded area.
Major Scott Coffer with the Union County Sheriff’s Office said 9 of the 10 grave markers have been accounted for.
Throughout the course of the investigation it was determined that the markers were either replaced or did have an error on them.
There is now only one marker that may possibly have been stolen and deputies are looking for a family member of Parsade Henderson Waldrop, who was buried at Landrum Cemetery.
They are now working on where the markers were manufactured and checking to see if they were discarded by someone within that company.
“I would like to personally thank Scottie Kay with WSPA for getting this story out as well as the Channel 7 viewers who have reached out to the Union County Sheriff’s Office or to me personally, with their help and research along with Investigators, we have been able to locate the cemeteries where each person was buried,” Coffer said.
This is still an active investigation by the Union County Sheriff’s Office until deputies can conclude that there was no criminal activity.
May 14, 2020
UNION CO., S.C. (WSPA) – A possible tombstone thief may be on the loose after nearly a dozen headstone markers were found in some Union County woods.
“It’s odd. We’ve never had anything like this before,” Union County Sheriff David Taylor said. “We’ve had some brass vases stolen back when the price of brass was through the roof; but we’ve never had any headstones removed.”
Ten gravestones were found near the wood line next to an apartment complex on D Place in Union on Wednesday.
The discovery sparked an investigation by the Union County Sheriff’s Office.
“Some of these headstones go back to the 1800’s,” Sheriff Taylor said.
The majority of the gravestones belong to folks who served in the military.
“A World War II veteran, some navy veterans, a U.S. army vet,” Taylor said.
The other memorials include two young children and an infant.
“That one hits close to home for me, because we’ve had so many premature infant deaths in my own personal family,” Sheriff Taylor said.
“Very dishonorable in many ways,” Gregory Bedore said. “To the families, very disrespectful.”
Gregory Bedore lives next door to where the tombstones were found, and he said he doesn’t understand why or how they got there.
“Couldn’t imagine any less than a whole team of people picking up these tombstones and carrying them around,” he said.
Sheriff Taylor told 7 News he doesn’t understand what the motive would be either. He said he hopes the gravestones were not stolen, but discarded for other reasons.
“Monument companies that have maybe made mistakes on markers and had to redo them,” Taylor said.
After researching the names on the gravestones, the sheriff’s office learned a few may be from Spartanburg County; but Sheriff Taylor said the search for family members has been difficult.
“We found some that had relatives in Alabama,” he said.
That’s why Sheriff Taylor called 7 News.
“It’s a tragic situation,” he said. “We just hope we can get them back to the people they belong to.”
Below is a list of names on the markers:
- Annie B. Toney 09/09/1896-04/28/1978
- Annie Lou Edge 05/03/1900-12/27/1905
- Clarence E. Edge 03/22/1901-08/31/1905
- Jegs and Lettie N. West – 1925
- James Paul Bishop, U.S. Navy 07/08/2001-05/06/19
- Bill Belcher 05/10/1931-07/28/1956
- Curtis Clowney, U.S. Army WWII 1920-1989
- Andrew Russell Waldon 08/24/1921-12/31/1997
- Otis Woody Jr. x2 08/20/1947-06/09/2007
- Parasade Waldrop DOD: 07/24/1918 (Age 35)
If you have any information about the markers, or believe your loved one’s gravestone may have been taken, you can call the Union County Sheriff’s Office at (864) 429-1612 or Major Scott Coffer at (864) 466-6812.