Vandals strike Crenshaw County church, cemetery

Special task force will be created to prosecute carjacking cases.
Special task force will be created to prosecute carjacking cases.(WBKO)
Published: Sep. 24, 2020 at 11:45 AM CDT
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Crenshaw County investigators are handling a severe vandalism case near Highland Home.

It involves a beloved church, a nearby cemetery and a violent disrespect of what the locals hold sacred and dear.

The damage at Arlena Cemetery and the Arlena Methodist Church cuts deep.

“It had to have happened between Sunday night and Monday,” said Annette Shepherd.

Shepherd can only wonder why.

“I just feel sad for the one that did it,” she said.

We begin with the cemetery; broken headstones, smashed flower pots and one head marker ripped from the ground and thrown in in the bushes, ripped away from the grave of a 9-year-old little girl.

“As far as you can see right there that’s the headstone. This one sustained the most damage,” Shepherd said.

Two deputies from the Crenshaw County Sheriff’s Department were on the scene Tuesday night to gather evidence, mainly fingerprints, according to Shepherd. So far, no one’s been charged.

“It’s very troubling and you know kind of depressing that you would come to a cemetery and do stuff like that,” she said.

Over at the church, we found broken windows, broken with bricks, littering the floor inside with shards of glass and burning questions for Shepherd who spent much of her childhood inside the sanctuary.

“That was my favorite time.. homecoming.. because we knew we would get that cake,” Shepherd remembered.

This church may not look like much to the outside world but it means the world to those who live here. After all, souls were saved, babies baptized and memories made.

“Something we cherished because we all born and raised around this building and this building you know.. is something to your heart to see somebody come out and do what they did here,” said Shepherd.

Shepherd has no plans to spend a whole of time trying to figure out who did it. The focus now is to begin a clean up and restore the peace in Arlena Cemetery.

Shepherd says the departed souls buried in the cemetery were people who lived in that area.

Shepherd says there was no damage done inside the church.

Copyright 2020 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.

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