Family furious over cemetery vandalism

By Elise Roberts - bio | email

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - A cemetery in Hancock County has become a hangout spot after dark and one family says its tired of vandals wreaking havoc at the burial site.

Clifton Bubba Chatman was buried in the Bayou Lacroix Cemetery in March of 2005. But family members say the husband, father and friend has yet to rest in peace.

At least twice a month, Debbie Martin drives from Bogalousa, Louisiana to help clean her father's grave.

"Sometimes we come out here and people have just made a mess of everything. They'll take the flowers, throw them out," said Martin.

Early Sunday morning it happened again. But this time the damage was worse than ever.

"Beer bottles all over, the plants were turned over, headstones turned over," said Richard Chatman.

The family says for the past year and half, someone has been using their family's resting place as a place to party.

"We tried to put cement posts, where they wouldn't go on my husband's grave but they still did the same thing," said the deceased's wife, Elaine Chatman.

Her son Richard says enough is enough.

"If I catch them, shame on them. This ain't no party place. It's for the people to rest and to be with God not to come out here and disturb them," Shatman said.

However, this time, family members say the vandals left plenty of evidence and they have pictures to prove it. Including a wrecked SUV that was pulled just yards from the cemetery. The truck was covered in orange paint, paint they insist came from the concrete blocks surrounding their father's grave. There were also empty beer bottles in the backseat, the same beer bottles found at the gravesite.

"We keep calling the sheriff's department and they say we're going to patrol it but nothing's being done," said Chatman.

Hancock County Sheriff's say are patrolling the area and they are still investigating the crime.

However, the Chatman family won't be satisfied until their father can lie in peace.