Girl, 13, arrested in cemetery vandalism
Glenwood Springs police say a 13-year-old girl, possibly acting alone, vandalized some 30 tombstones at the city’s historic Linwood Cemetery early this month.Police chief Terry Wilson said authorities have cited a Glenwood Springs girl for criminal mischief in the case. Police aren’t making her name public because she is a minor.Wilson said it was somewhat surprising that a young teenage girl emerged as the suspect in the vandalism, which involved overturning tombstones and breaking some of them.”Some of them sound like they’re pretty heavy,” he said.At this point, there’s no “distinct indication” that accomplices were involved, but an investigation is continuing, he said.”I suppose it’s possible” the girl could have done all the damage, Wilson said. “Everything we have right now points to a single perpetrator.”Given the suspect’s age, Wilson declined to discuss many particulars of the case, including what may have motivated the girl to act and what evidence led to her arrest.He said police are still awaiting word on the final tab for the damages at the cemetery, as that could affect the ultimate charges and penalty the girl may face. It’s also possible she could face individual criminal counts for each damaged marker.Wilson said he isn’t sure whether the girl has a criminal record, but he said he never knew of her before the recent arrest.Cindy Hines, director of the Frontier Historical Museum, said she has a hard time believing one teenage girl did all the damage at the cemetery.”She must be a big girl to push over some headstones. … I guess one person could have done that, but that was a lot of work,” she said.Linwood Cemetery is home to the tombstone of famed gunslinger Doc Holliday, who many believe is buried somewhere in the graveyard. A new marker for Holliday, erected last year, wasn’t vandalized during the recent incident. But stones of other prominent figures from Glenwood’s distant past were pushed over, and in some cases broken.City park crews have re-erected many of the stones, but others require specialized repair, and city officials are still looking into how to fix them without causing further damage.Hines said she figured young pranksters probably were behind the vandalism, but still was disappointed to hear a teen is the prime suspect in the case.”Kids have been doing that stuff since the beginning of time. … A lot of the time I think they really don’t realize what they’re doing.”Besides the cost involved, cemetery vandalism “can erase all we have of someone’s history,” Hines said.If some youth don’t respect cemeteries and those buried in them, others apparently do. Hines said youth groups joined adults Saturday for a work day at the cemetery. Close to 80 people worked on projects such as obliterating undesired trails, building retaining walls, and installing railroad ties and rocks to divert runoff and control erosion. Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers worked with the museum on the project.On Saturday, the museum will hold another cleanup day at the cemetery. Volunteers need not register in advance but can simply show up at 10 a.m. at the trailhead. Breakfast, snacks and lunch will be provided. Participants should bring a hat and sunscreen, and possibly some small gardening tools.A grant from the Colorado Historical Society, State Historical Fund and Colorado Archaeological Society is funding the event.
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