By: Jacob Murphey | WCTV Eyewitness News
May 21, 2020
LIVE OAK, Fla. (WCTV) – A community is searching for answers after authorities say someone destroyed and stole a tribute to graduating seniors at Suwannee High School.
More than 100 personalized Class of 2020 signs lining Pinewood Drive went missing overnight Thursday, but sheriff's deputies recovered most of them in an unexpected place.
The 228-sign display was a way to honor the graduates during an unprecedented senior year. Organizers of the Bulldog Bash, an annual homecoming-type event, used leftover funds to fit the $1800 bill.
One of those organizers, Adrienne Taylor, said she received a text early Thursday about the signs, and raced out to see for herself.
"When I came around the corner, I could tell that a lot of them were missing," she said.
Overall, more than 100 signs had been run-over or stolen. The search for clues took authorities to the Suwannee River.
Jasper resident Shane McCoy was out on the water when he started noticing an odd sight. Yard signs with faces of smiling seniors caught along the riverbank.
"I saw them floating down the river ,so I started picking them up and called the Sheriff's Department," he said.
McCoy, along with a team of deputies, worked to retrieve 74 signs. Suwannee County Sheriff Sam St John said he was happy he could provide some good news.
"It's very very low and it's upsetting to every parent that we have here," he said.
Marsha Brown has a daughter in the graduating class. She called the sign theft "hurtful and disappointing."
"They've been robbed of so much already," she said.
"A small light of this, and then someone wants to take their time...the fact that someone even thought of doing this is crazy to me."
Taylor said as soon as the signs vanished, her small town stepped up trying to find ways to replace them.
"You get really frustrated when you see somebody do something so mean spirited, but then on the other side so many people jump at the chance to help you, to make it better," Taylor said.
Both Taylor and Brown said they couldn't imagine this was a senior prank. They said none of the members of the graduating class are that kind of person.
Sheriff St John said his deputies were reviewing any nearby surveillance video, but didn't know if the footage would provide any leads.
Anyone with information about what happened should contact the Suwannee County Sheriff's Office.