Darren Doyle, story:
It takes a sorry individual to bother someone's grave or purposely cause a disturbance in a cemetery, but stealing grave decorations from someone that's recently passed is a completely different level of sorry.
The Edmonson County Sheriff's Office and the family of Tammy Cowles Cole are seeking information regarding the theft of all the decorations--yes, you read correctly--all the decorations from Tammy's grave in Hawkins Cemetery on HWY 259 (Brownsville Road) that reportedly took place sometime between 4:30 and 5:30PM on Sunday evening.
Tammy was buried just Friday and family members discovered all the decorations missing yesterday. Cemetery personnel, family members, and the Sheriff's Office were stunned to learn of the report.
"This is one of the most offensive things I've dealt with since I've been the Sheriff," said Shane Doyle. "We've obviously dealt with more serious crimes and charges, but this is extremely disturbing. We are going to be very aggressive in pursuing the individual or individuals who were involved in this as it is a felony to steal property from a grave."
Violating graves is a Class D felony and is punishable by up to 5 years in prison.
Sheriff Doyle is urging the community to help spread the word of this crime so that the subject can be arrested and that the family can have peace of mind.
"It always helps when the community gets involved," he said. "Maybe you overheard something or saw something that just wasn't quite right. This family has been through enough without dealing with all of this. Our hearts go out to them and we will do our best to catch whoever did this."
Tammy passed away on Monday, September 27th after a lengthy battle with COVID-19 at the age of 51.
In addition to taking all the flowers and decorations, someone also walked on the grave itself, leaving several footprints.
Sheriff Doyle said the investigation continues and is being led by Deputy Matt Skaggs. Anyone with any information regarding this incident is asked to call the Edmonson County Sheriff's Office at 270-597-2157. You may remain anonymous, Sheriff Doyle said.