Vandals Desecrate Historic Zanesville Cemetery

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UPDATED: Tuesday April 8, 2014 6:27 PM

The peaceful setting of Woodlawn Public Cemetery has been shattered by disturbing images of desecration.

Nancy Marie Gill says some of her husband's family is buried in this holy ground, dating back to the 1850s.

"I was just sick to my stomach.  This is wrong, totally wrong,” says Gill.

Detectives are taking pictures and marking the 77 headstones someone kicked or pushed over.

Cemetery Superintendent Jeff Johnson said the scene looked like a tornado came through.  “There’s no reason for this to happen.”

Two-thirds of the knocked over tombstones are still intact, but others broke into pieces and may not be fixable.  Some of the dates and names have worn off; weathered through time.  Because of that, some families may never know their ancestors' gravestones were destroyed.

These gravesites also preserve the history of this community.  Mendal Churchill is one of three Civil War Union Generals buried here.

Those sacred monuments were not touched, but Johnson says the vandalism would make even these honorable men, turn in their graves.

"It's just disgraceful for somebody to come in and do this to families who have trusted us with their family members, and we'd just like to catch who did it.  That's all, just get justice for the families,” says Johnson.

Crews from the city and other volunteers will start repairing what they can later this week.

Meantime, a $500 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for this vandalism.

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