KINGSTON (WATE) – A stroke of good luck led a Roane County road crew to a dump site at the bottom of the hill where they found items that seemed to be from a number of graves.
The Roane County Sheriff’s Office was called out to Dug Ridge Road Tuesday afternoon to collect everything from flowers to flags and even vases. The site is a swamp of sorts down a steep hill where garbage disappears in the leaves.
“We had stopped at this particular site to look at some pavement we put down the last few weeks,” said Roane County Road Superintendent Dennis Ferguson.
Instead his crew found a mess of statutes, vases, flower, and flags after looking down the embankment. Ferguson snapped pictures and called the sheriff’s office to come out and help collect everything.
“It makes you mad to see this stuff, all these flowers and vases. It doesn’t matter if it was a veteran, a baby, a grandmother, sister, brother, mom or dad. It’s bad that someone would do something like that,” he said.
Investigators are still working to see which cemetery vandalism case everything is tied to. Swan Pond Baptist Cemetery is under lock and key because it was hit last spring.
“My grandparents grave is right here. They took the vases off of it,” said Randy Ellis of Harriman.
Loved ones are still cautious about replacing things that were stolen.
“It’s more like my family cemetery and the biggest thing is that not being sad, it’s being angry. It’s like, who would do that to a cemetery?” he asked.
There was a sense of relief Wednesday that everything found at the bottom of Dug Ridge Road may find its way back.
“It’s brought closure. If it’s not for us, it’s for someone else,” said Ellis.
Investigators say it’s too soon to tell how long everything had been there, so the sheriff’s office is going to set up a day to have victims of recent cemetery thefts to come by and see what may belong to loved ones.
The district attorney’s office says if these items are tied to Swan Pond Cemetery, they will play some role in the case when it’s presented in court. Kevin Limburg has been charged with theft and vandalism in regards to that investigation.
A public viewing of some of the items recovered will be held on December 28 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Roane County Sheriff’s Office for identification.