Neighbors upset to find broken headstones in Placerville cemetery

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PLACERVILLE, Calif. (KTXL) — Over the weekend, over a half-dozen headstones were found toppled and smashed in the Placerville Union Cemetery.

Colleen Cranor walks her dog frequently through the historic cemetery where a who’s who of city founders are buried.

“There are broken stones here that are within the last two weeks,” Cranor told FOX40.

She posted pictures of damaged headstones on the El Dorado Community Watch page, which drew 150 comments sharing her outrage.

“It is quite disturbing,” said neighbor Pete Hilton. “I can’t see the joy in destroying something.”

Cemetery officials got wind of the damage and came out Monday to take a look.

“We actually didn’t have any vandalism that is anything to be of concern,” said Julianne Melchor, an El Dorado County cemetery administrator.

There was a burned trash container and plenty of damage to older headstones. El Dorado County cemetery officials said it was just too difficult to tell whether some of the headstones were recently vandalized, vandalized years ago or fell on their own accord due to weathering.

Cemetery volunteer Maggie Killackey is at the Placerville Union Cemetery twice a week helping chart historic gravesites. She said she did not notice anything unusual.

“People can assume that those were just vandalized whereas they’ve been broken for quite a while,” she explained.

But on Monday, Cranor pointed to a military gravestone sitting 50 feet from the veteran’s plot at the cemetery.

“It was not here a couple weeks ago,” she said.

After 140 years, cemetery caretakers say there are mysteries in the cemetery that will never be solved. But others say prevention measures will prevent future vandalism.

“Let’s try to not make this happen anymore. This is terrible,” Cranor said.

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