Off Beat Stories

Sep 15, 2009 6:58 PM by Sara Forhetz

Grave robbers hit Missouri cemetery

Grave robbers have desecrated a small cemetery in Missouri's Polk County.

They disturbed five graves, a crime that took a lot of work but had little payoff.

"I seen all the dirt here and I didn't know what was going on," said Jim Woodmansee.

For Woodmansee, New Bethel Cemetery is much more than his day-in, day-out duty.

"I've got about 30 family members buried here," he said.

It's close to sacred ground.

"I can't imagine anything worse," said Woodmansee.

Now the cemetery is defaced by would-be thieves.

"It looked like they had put a pick bar in them and pried the metal out, then they pulled the liner out."

They didn't find much.

"It was just a little beaded necklace; it didn't have jewelry in it that we know of."

There were five open graves and one open casket.

"It looked like they had messed with her hand to see if she had rings on or anything; family members didn't think she did," Woodmansee said.

All the robber or robbers left behind were some broken and sickened souls.

"How low can you go?" asked Madeline Dohle. "Think about if it were your own parents or your own grave and somebody were doing it."

Dohle is one of dozens who stopped by to check on their loved ones.

"Wanita Gordmen was my English teacher in high school many moons ago," she said.

Her grave was one of five dug up, opened after being under the earth for 33 years.

She hopes it won't take any longer to catch those responsible.

"I want to let 'em know we're not going to put up with this stuff," Dohle said.



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