Vandals damaged dozens of tombstones in a rural cemetery near Eustace, Henderson County Sheriff Botie Hillhouse said.
At least 35 grave markers at Goshen Cemetery were pushed over or damaged in other ways. The damage is estimated to be $122,500.
“Our team is actively investigating and interviewing people and I will be asking Crime Stoppers to offer a reward for the arrest of these suspects,” Hillhouse said in a news release.
Representatives of the cemetery board reported the damage to a sheriff’s deputy Wednesday night.
“I don’t intend to let this stand,” Hillhouse said. “For the sake of the families with kinfolk buried there, I want these criminals caught and prosecuted.”
Those who did the damage could face felony criminal mischief charges.
The cemetery is at the site of Goshen, a community established after the Civil War that no longer exists. Goshen faded away when a railroad passed through nearby Eustace and merchants moved there.
According to the news release, local legend has it that the cemetery was founded when a cowboy became sick and died while working on a nearby ranch. A large grave and stone fence mark the burial place of the cowboy.
Graves mark the burial sites of pioneer settlers and their descendants, and veterans of wars.
Many of the 450 graves in the cemetery are unmarked, the news release said.