“Ritualistic activity” suspected behind vandalized graves

Vandalized graves at Edgewood Cemetery in Mount Dora. [Image credit: WKMG]

Sunday afternoon Emma Boothe called the Lake County Sheriff's Office to report vandalism at the Edgewood Cemetery in Mount Dora.


“There are grave sites where the vault has been taken off and half of the coffin is gone,” Boothe said according to WKMG. “I know this is the (unintelligible) call you’re going to get all day...”


When officers arrived to the cemetery, they discovered that the vandals had gained access to four graves and attempted to access a fifth.  Body parts were missing from each of the graves that had been accessed.


Booth could only describe her initial state as "dumbfounded" when she spoke with reporters.


Aside from vault tops that had been smashed, and one that had been leaned up against a tree, Boothe found the remains of one man that had been pulled from his grave.  "His body was just laying there. No vault, no top on the coffin, no anything," she said.


But that wasn't the most troubling part.  His head had been removed.


"I close my eyes and see that poor man lying there.  This poor gentleman that had been laid to rest in the 1980s.  There was a pillow, but there was nothing on it."


"It's weird.  It's bizarre.  Obviously it's unsettling," Lake County Sheriff's Lt. John Herrell said during a press conference.  Herrell actually went so far as to say that from what investigators had seen, "It leaves very little question in their minds that this was some sort of ritualistic activity taking place here."


Workers were busy Monday repairing the damage.


While workers repaired the damage, family members visited the cemetery in order to check on the graves of their loved ones.  One of those women, Vernell Parker, had laid her mother to rest 30 years ago.  Her mother's was one of the graves that had been disturbed.


"It's just wicked, evil," Parker said. "These are the days we're living in."


Investigators believe that the vandals struck sometime during Saturday night and are asking that anyone with information contact their office at (352) 343-2101.