Southampton County cemetery damaged by vandals

Posted at 7:05 PM, Sep 30, 2013
and last updated 2013-10-18 10:24:28-04

Southampton County, Va. - A cemetery in Sebrell, located outside of Courtland, was damaged by vandals recently.  Some grave markers were knocked over and others were smashed into pieces.

Mindy Purvis made the discovery Sunday when she went to Butts Family Cemetery on Old Hickory Road to visit her mother's grave site.

"Some of the headstones are just beyond recognition," Purvis said, "What type of mean-spirited people do we have living among us that would go out and disturb a cemetery?"

Her family members have been buried there since at least the 1950s.

"I've always looked at my family's cemetery as being my history," Purvis said.

Other area families can also trace back their history there.

There are military veterans from WWII and some people buried at the cemetery were born in the 1800s.

With the help of the 98-year-old caretaker, Purvis says they are going through the process of trying to find all the families to notify them.

She's also in contact with the Southampton County Sheriff's office.

Purvis says deputies were at the cemetery Sunday where they collected beer and soda cans, gloves and recent receipts they found.

She's hoping through their investigation, her family can get some answers soon about who did this - and why.

"Your cemetery is a sacred place that we put our loved ones there to rest, and it's not ... okay to come and disturb the resting place of our loved ones," Purvis said.

The damage is estimated at $15,000.

A group of citizens and the Sebrell Civic league have come up with a $1500.00 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the culprits.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP. You could be eligible for an additional $1,000 reward.