HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — Nearly three dozen headstones were damaged last month at a cemetery near Conway, police said.
It happened sometime between Sept. 28 and Sept. 30 at the Sweetwater Branch Baptist Church cemetery off of Highway 544 near Conway, Horry County police said Thursday in a Facebook post. The damage to the 32 headstones and several statues is estimated to be in the thousands of dollars.
An officer responded to the church on Sept. 30 about a malicious damage complaint, according to a police report obtained by News13. The officer met with a representative of the church who said within the last two days, the suspect pushed 32 headstones off of their bases and pushed over a statue of Jesus, breaking it in half.
The person told police the suspect also painted red tears under the eyes of the Jesus statue, the report shows. The person also allegedly bent the chain link fence gate at the entrance of the cemetery to the point where it wouldn’t open.
“First reaction is a little bit of anger,” said Charles Mixon, a pastor at the church. “Second reaction is you have to have some compassion for those who may have done this.”
Mixon said he’s not looking for revenge, but he wants whoever is guilty to know that their actions will not be tolerated.
“Most of them are just hurt because many of them go back there to reminisce about the life they had with their passed love one,” he said.
Police are continuing to look for whoever caused the damage.
“We’d encourage others to consider too the pain this causes the families of those who lie in that cemetery,” police said.
Anyone with information is asked to call detective Sotile at 843-915-8336.
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Dennis Bright is a Digital Producer at News13. He joined the team in May 2021. Dennis is a West Virginia native and a graduate of Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia. Follow Dennis on, Facebook, X, formerly Twitter, and read more of his work here.