$1,000 Reward Offered to Find Cemetery Vandals - KHGI-TV/KWNB-TV/KHGI-CD-Grand Island, Kearney, Hastings

$1,000 Reward Offered to Find Cemetery Vandals

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A senseless crime has been committed at an historic cemetery in Hamilton County.

Forty-four gravestones have been destroyed and toppled at Farmers Valley Cemetery. Officials say vandals struck sometime Monday night.

The wreckage was discovered Tuesday afternoon and it's estimated that repairs will cost upwards of $40,000.

"These kids have no idea who they kicked down or who they knocked over," said Suzanne Ratzlaff, a retired fourth grade teacher who now provides tours of the cemetery.

It's the final resting place of many Hamilton County pioneers, including Civil War veterans and former Nebraska State Senator, Perry Reed.

"They don't understand the importance of the past," Ratzlaff said, "I don't think these kids have realized the value of the people who came before them and hopefully as they become older they'll understand that."

Farmers Valley Cemetery is owned by a private organization, so income is only received from selling burial spots and from donations.

Although money is tight, officials are offering a $1,000 reward to anyone who comes forward leading to the arrest and conviction of those who committed this heartless crime.

Individuals wanting to help can drop off donations at any Cornerstone Bank for the Farmers Valley Cemetery Board.

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