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Cross crushes girl at church cemetery in North Carolina

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Posted at 5:57 PM, Jun 10, 2012
and last updated 2012-06-11 09:32:18-04

A four-year-old girl was killed after church members say a 1,200 pound cross from a tombstone fell on her.

It happened at a church cemetery in North Carolina, Just before a bible school study was to start.

Several children were playing and running around in the church backyard Friday evening. The pastor says the kids were just burning off energy before the start of class. The backyard of Mt. Paran Church doubles as a small cemetery, about 2 dozen people are buried there.

“I mean, it’s an accident.  It could happen to anybody at any time.”

The pastor says 4 year old Peyton Townsend was standing on a tombstone when a massive cross fell on top of her, and crushed her.  The pastor estimates that cross weighed more than 1,200 pounds.  It’s since been removed.

“There’s no more smiling or thinking about good things after that.  You’re just thinking, ‘Oh my God, somebody just died here.'”

That grave belongs to Seth Miller’s cousin.  He lives down the street and rushed over to the church when he heard fire trucks and a helicopter. That’s when he saw Townsend, laying on the grass.

“My face turned red and you’re kind of like, ‘Wow.’ It just kind of hits you.'”

Townsend’s father Randy has been a state trooper for the last three years. The family lives down the street from the church.  Sunday afternoon, several troopers were seen talking with Reverend Rick Cornejo about the tragedy.

Funeral services for the girl are scheduled for Monday night.