Century-old headstones stolen from Knox County cemetery

By: Kendall Downing Email
By: Kendall Downing Email

Family members said pieces of their history are now gone! This weekend a number of historical markers vanished from a Knox County cemetery.

Some of those headstones are more than one hundred years old.

"Everyone is related, or they lived in the neighborhood," said Jeffery Patterson.

Patterson and his family help take care of Hawn Cemetery in Knox County. Many of his relatives are buried there.

"From family members being here, everyone just pitches in and ensures that it's clean," said Patterson.

This weekend those family members decided it was time for some yard work.

That's when they noticed a few empty holes.

"It was discovered that six tombstones were missing," said Patterson.

Tombstones dating back to the late 1800s were pulled right out of the ground. Now nothing is left behind but dirt.

Family members said whoever is behind the theft could not have done it alone because the tombstones weigh more than one hundred pounds each.

"They would have to pack them across the cemetary, so it took more than one person," said Steve Patterson.

Neighbors told the family they hadn't seen any suspicious cars near the cemetery, so the family doesn't know who could be hoarding the headstones.

"Prank or theft, but there's no means of justification for it," said Patterson.

For now, family members will be watching this sacred ground more closely to make sure nobody suspicious shows up.

"We would love to see someone return the tombstones back in the best condition they can," said Patterson.

They hope to be able to put the cemetery back together the way it's supposed to be.

The Knox County Sheriff's Department is investigating the thefts.

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