HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - The Pearson Cemetery is off the beaten path at the end of a quiet dirt road near the Hancock County/Pearl River County line. The peaceful two acres has close to 400 grave stones. During the day, people come and go visiting their loved ones. But at night, the Jones family said it has become a hangout and they have had enough.
"I'm sick," Sharon Jones Terry said, "just devastated by it and then angry after that."
Terry said her family has experienced a roller coaster of emotions after finding black spray paint covering her grandparents' graves.
Terry's sister-in-law Stacey Jones lives next door to the community cemetery.
"I was disgusted, it made me sick to know somebody came out here and done that," Jones said. "This is somebody's final resting place. You don't go do that to someone's final resting place. You are supposed to be at peace. And when something like that is done, they don't have peace."
Making matters worse, the Jones family said they cannot get the markings off the tombstones.
"Don't know what to do about it," Terry said. "Through the help of others, we have gotten it cleaned up some, but there's still some on there."
This is not the first time the family has had problems at the cemetery. The women said sometimes they will find beer cans and other litter scattered around.
"You don't do that," Jones said. "You don't come out to a cemetery to drink or party, you come out here to visit the deceased and pay respects. Other than that, you don't need to be out here."
Outraged by the lack of respect, family members took their concerns to Facebook posting pictures of the graffiti in an attempt to catch those responsible. More than 2,000 people have shared the pictures.
"I can't tell you how many messages, private messages, I've gotten from people on it," Jones said. "It's just amazing the outreach of people. They are just disgusted, they said, 'It's not right.' It has been shared all the way to Iowa and Texas."
If nothing else, the family hopes their devastating experience will make others think twice about desecrating a grave.
The Hancock County Sheriff's Office is investigating the vandalism. Investigators said those responsible can be charged with trespassing and malicious mischief. Depending on how much it will cost to clean the tombstones, deputies said it could even be a felony.
If you have any information about the vandalism, you are asked to call the sheriff's office at (228) 466-6900.