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Dozens Of Tombstones Vandalized at Bedford County Cemetery

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Posted at 9:18 PM, Sep 15, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-18 18:55:38-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Dozens of Bedford County families were reeling after learning their loved one’s tomb stones were vandalized over the weekend.

What was usually 140 acres of peace and quiet, the Willow Mount Cemetery, showed signs of distress Tuesday.

“I think it’s ridiculous for somebody to do that,” said high school student Hayden Sliger, looking at the damage.

Around 40 headstones rested on the ground, torn down by vandals over the weekend.

“It just breaks your heart that somebody would do that,” said mom Beth Thomas.

When she heard what happened, Thomas brought her family out to check on all their loved ones buried there.

“My parents are buried here and my maternal grandparents and great grandparents are buried here as well as my father’s parents and his grandfather,” she listed.

Police believed there was more than one person behind the mess, which seemed random and widespread throughout the historic cemetery.

Some people's stones were completely uprooted, pushed over and even shattered. The vandals didn't leave much evidence, instead just sadness and anger in their wake.

“They can’t defend themselves so don't mess with them,” said Sliger, talking about the dead.

“Up on the hill where there are tombstones just laying down that is really, really pathetic,” agreed Mickie Daugherty.

Those responsible did not discriminate between new grave sites or old. Some of the tombstones dated back to the 1840s, and some visitors worried about those older stones.

“I don't know who those people have to come fix it, if it can even be fixed,” Daugherty said.

With no obvious leads, police hoped surveillance tapes could help catch the criminals. There were multiple cameras mounted to the cemetery office.

With thousands of people buried there, many local families are looking for answers to help their loved ones once again rest in peace.

Police have offered a $1,000 dollar reward for information that leads to the people responsible. They've asked anyone with information to call Crimestoppers at 931-685-4300.

The cemetery is managed by the City of Shelbyville. NewsChannel 5 wanted to find out if the city was doing anything to help the families affected. Despite several attempts to reach out to him, the Shelbyville Public Works Director would not answer questions, on or off camera.