FUNSTON — Numerous gravestones and monuments toppled and strewn about Funston Cemetery Saturday night have residents of Funston as well as other areas of the community mighty upset. A general sense of shock has prevailed over the community following the discovery of the vandalism.

The Funston Cemetery Council will hold an emergency meeting Thursday to discuss the damage done.

Colquitt County Sheriff’s Investigator Shawn Bostick said the council will meet to discuss what they can do in terms of repairs to the damaged monuments. The council will also be given estimates on the repair costs, provided by Cobb Funeral Chapel.

Bobby Cobb, owner and operator of Cobb Funeral Chapel, said cost estimates had not been completed as of Tuesday afternoon. He had been out to the cemetery to asses the damage and was working on the dollar figure Thursday.

A Colquitt County sheriff’s deputy was called to the cemetery at 8:23 a.m. Sunday after the damage was found. It was estimated the incident took place between 1 a.m. and 8 a.m. Sunday. Funston Mayor Ferrell Ruis reported the damage.

Bostick said many of the markers were knocked down by being pushed or kicked. Several flower pots and urns were also knocked over or destroyed, flower arrangements were uprooted, some headstones were pulled from the ground and a bench was broken.

“This is just a bench of nonsense,” Bostick said earlier. “It’s a complete lack of respect.”

Only about 30 percent of the approximately 50 markers were destroyed, and Bostick said most could be repaired. The markers that were damaged or destroyed dated back to the early 1900’s to more recent dates.

Bostick said a witness reported seeing two young white males leaving the cemetery between 2:30 a.m. and 3 a.m. as he drove through Funston.

Joshua Folsom, 17, of 593 Funston-Sigsbee Road in Funston, and a 15-year-old boy were each charged with criminal damage to property, criminal trespassing and felony theft by taking. An angel stolen from the cemetery was allegedly found leading to the arrests. Bostick said both suspects lived about a mile from the cemetery, and it was believed they walked to the cemetery, allegedly damaged the monuments and walked back home.

Hugh Manning, treasurer of the cemetery council and caretaker, said the community cemetery is overseen by a joint council with the Methodist and Baptist Church in Funston. The cemetery is restricted to current residents of Funston or to former residents and family.

Manning said he was very, very disappointed something like this happened to the Funston Cemetery. Nothing like this had happened in the over 100 year history of the cemetery.

The oldest part of the cemetery, however, was left virtually undamaged, Manning said. The cemetery dates back to the early 1900’s when the land for it was donated by William S. Spivey. Markers at the cemetery date back to around 1903, but some date back earlier because the land was used for burials before it was officially a cemetery.

Earlier, Bostick suggested families of those buried in the cemetery visit their loved one’s burial places to check from any damage. Manning said some family had visited the cemetery Sunday and replaced damaged markers already.

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