Damage From Vandalism In Historic Local Cemetery Could Reach $200,000

Centex Monuments donated manpower and equipment Monday in an effort to repair the damaged markers. (Photo by John Carroll)
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WACO (January 28, 2013)—Damages from a weekend vandalism spree at Waco’s historic Oakwood Cemetery could rise to as much as $200,000, Oakwood Superintendent David Evans said Monday.

Evans said he thinks three to four vandals worked their way through an older section of the cemetery overnight Friday, pushing crosses and pillars off their bases, knocking off angels and breaking markers.

Among the markers that were damaged were those on the graves of former Texas Gov. Richard Coke and Madison Cooper, the author of the bestselling novel “Sironia, Texas.”

Damaged markers have been found in seven separate blocks of the 134-year-old cemetery, Evans said.

Evans, a former sheriff’s deputy, said Monday he can’t believe anyone would do such a thing and called the vandals cowards for damaging and defacing the monuments and graves.

Centex Monuments donated manpower and equipment Monday in an effort to repair as many of the markers as possible, but some are irreparable and irreplaceable.

Meanwhile Evans said a number of anxious residents have called Oakwood to ask if the markers of family members were among those damaged and to offer money for a reward for identifying the vandals.

Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton said residents are expressing their outrage over the vandalism in comments on the department’s Facebook page.

He said police are investigating, but no arrests have yet been made.

Oakwood Cemetery between South 4th and South 7th Streets on La Salle Avenue was established in 1878 according to the Oakwood Cemetery Association, and it’s the final resting place of a who's who of area history.

Investigators are asking anyone who may have information could lead to an arrest to call the Waco Police Department at (254) 750-7500 or Waco Crime Stoppers (254) 753-4357 (HELP).