Biloxi Family Claims Vandalism At Woolmarket Cemetery

BILOXI (WLOX) -- When Sandra Ainsworth came to visit her grandmother's grave Saturday, she noticed something that's wasn't there just a few days before - tire tracks.

"This is disrespecting the dead and that should not happen," says Ainsworth.

But M.L. Richardson, the chair of the committee who oversees the grounds, says this is not a deliberate case of disrespect.

"We mow the grass at least once a month, and they have to use a mower, so there's going to be tire marks on some of these graves," says Richardson.

"I know the difference between a lawn mower and a motorbike, and that is motorbike indentions," says Ainsworth.

Ainsworth even points to footprints on her grandmother's gravesite, which she sees as a clear sign of disregard for the dead.

"That lady should not have to be disrespected. None of these people should be disrespected," says Ainsworth.

Richardson agrees every gravesite should be treated in a respectful manner. He says it's an issue very personal to him.

"My parents, my grandparents, aunts and uncles are all buried here, so I kind of take a little bit of pride to this cemetery," says Richardson.

But Ainsworth family members say that provides little consolation to them. They say if the matter isn't looked into more thoroughly, they're prepared to take things to the next level.

"If the church can find out who did it, let them file charges.  If they will not file charges, we will," says Ainsworth.

Assistant Biloxi Police Chief Rodney McGilvary says there was a police report filed on the incident, and investigators determined that it was not a case of vandalism.

Cemetery Committee Chairman Richardson says the church does not own the cemetery.  It's a public cemetery.  When families order plots, Richardson says they are informed that the committee is only responsible for mowing and weeding, which is paid for through donations.