A World War II Army Veteran, who was laid to rest almost 20 years ago, will have to be reburied in a Bartow, Fla. cemetery after someone vandalized and dug up his grave and removed his clothes.
Willie Graham, 75, was laid to rest in 1999. His niece, Jacksonville resident Cheryl Brown was visiting family in the Tampa area for Mother's Day and took flowers to the cemetery for Graham.
When she arrived, she saw a blue tarp over her uncle's grave.
“The casket had been broken into and his clothing was thrown all over the ground,” Brown said. " ... We cannot understand why someone would do this,"
Graham wasn't buried with any valuables, she said. She said her family doesn’t know why anyone would violate the sanctity of a grave site.
“There are evil people in this world,” Brown said.
According to reports, a city Parks and Recreation employee noticed the blue tarp three days before the family was notified.
The Bartow Police Department is still investigating and the family now wants safeguards to be put in place at the cemetery.
In the meantime, Brown wants her uncle to be remembered as part of America’s Greatest Generation.
“He was an educator, he was a military vet,” she said. She also said he was a family man; very well known in the Bartow community.
The family hopes to put him at rest a second and last time.