Confidential national call line being utilized
About 2½ months have passed since Cambridge City’s oldest cemetery was violated by one or more persons bent on destroying historic monuments.
Advocates for Capitol Hill Cemetery are now announcing they have raised $3,500 to turn up the heat and urge someone to come forward with more information about the crime.
Callers can use a national independent confidential tip line, (800) 782-7463. It is not operated by a police department. They will be assigned a random identifier code they can use to follow their tip.
They could qualify for a reward up to the full $3,500 if they provide a tip that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or people who desecrated the cemetery.
In an unfortunate April Fool’s Day discovery, a town employee found extensive damage to memorials and tombstones.
Grave markers weren’t just knocked down: Whole stones and heavy decorations were picked up and cracked or smashed. Some had been carried to other parts of the cemetery and used to damage other stones.
Although a professional cemetery conservator estimated that it took several hours to create so much havoc in the cemetery, police have arrested no suspects, largely because the cemetery is isolated and no one is sure when the destruction occurred.
No new burials have taken place for more than 40 years.
Volunteers have stepped forward in previous years to help preserve the pioneer cemetery. A junior history group did repair and restoration there in the mid-1970s.
In 2014, a group of volunteers headed by Aleesa and Greg Drennen began another restoration. They’ve since put uncounted hours into cleaning and repairing the stones. This year’s attack undid much of their work.
Since then, the Drennens have been networking with local businesses and groups to stir support for a new round of major repair and restoration, Aleesa Drennen said.
The Drennens have asked Cambridge City’s council to consider putting up a gate at the cemetery’s entrance on the south end of Lee Street, in hopes of keeping vehicles out.
They also are hopeful to get lighting installed along with a security system with video cameras that can record all visitors.
The Drennens have been discussing the issue with town officials at council’s monthly meetings since the damage occurred. Council will conduct its June meeting after press time for this edition.
Find updates about cemetery protection and restoration efforts in future editions of Western Wayne News.