Stolen Grave Markers Returned

By: Jacquie Slater Email
By: Jacquie Slater Email

The bronze markers that were stolen off of the veteran's graves at the Little Ochlocknee Baptist Church Cemetery are bent, scratched, and in a state of disrepair.

Travis Lamar Kirkland and William Eric Griffin have been charged with a total of forty-one counts of felony theft by taking and criminal damage to property. The pair are accused of stealing the bronze plaques off of the graves, scratching off the names, cutting them in half and selling them to a scrap yard.

"Yesterday, Early County Sherriff's Office returned the grave markers that had been recovered for us up in Early County and we've taken them down, put them into evidence and are trying to determine what will be the next step," said Steve Jones of the Thomas County Sherriff's Department.

The plaques are expensive to replace and police say the victims in the case are trying to figure out how to pay for them.

Authorities say the missing plaques are as just as much a sentimental loss as they are a monetary one.

The plaques are designated markers for veteran's only, to honor their service to their country.

"They were heartbroken. They were more devastated that someone would steal something of this nature than they were with the actual value of the loss," said Jones.

For now, the cemetery that relatives take so much pride in is still missing a piece of the history that makes it so special.

Griffin and Kirkland remain at the Thomas County Jail on a $100,100.00 bond each.

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