Caruthersville family angry after grave vandalized - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Caruthersville family angry after grave vandalized

Annie Mae Jackson's son Walter Gibbs discovered the headstone face down in the dirt. Annie Mae Jackson's son Walter Gibbs discovered the headstone face down in the dirt.
H.S. Smith Funeral Home is looking at putting in concrete posts or a small fence to make the area less of a target. H.S. Smith Funeral Home is looking at putting in concrete posts or a small fence to make the area less of a target.
Annie Mae Jackson was a missionary who dedicated her life to God, her family, and her community. Annie Mae Jackson was a missionary who dedicated her life to God, her family, and her community.
The family fears the vandalism was racially motivated. The family fears the vandalism was racially motivated.
The family also says it could be the work of teenagers with too much time on their hands and little respect. The family also says it could be the work of teenagers with too much time on their hands and little respect.
CARUTHERSVILLE, MO (KFVS) -

Racially motivated or a careless prank? A Caruthersville family is angry after someone vandalizes a grave in a predominately African American cemetery.

The family of Annie Mae Jackson feels her headstone was knocked over on purpose. They say whatever the motivation they want justice and equal respect for their loved one.

Last Thursday, Jackson's son Walter Gibbs discovered the headstone face down in the dirt.

"It does hurt," said Gibbs. "It makes you a little upset because this is supposed to be a sacred place."

"There's money invested there but that's not important, this is where you come to be at peace," Gibbs said.

"There's a lot of hate behind that," said Rene Hollywood, Jackson's granddaughter.

Jackson lived to be 100 years old. She was a missionary who dedicated her life to God, her family, and her community. Her granddaughter and son have no idea why someone would want to damage her grave.

"She would help anybody," said Hollywood. "She was a wonderful person."

"That type of mother you don't find anymore," said Gibbs. "She truly loved everybody."

The family says they have a few ideas as to why the grave was damaged. They first fear the vandalism was racially motivated.

"We need to respect everyone," said Hollywood. "It doesn't matter your race, religion, creed, or color. We should all be one."

They also feel it could be the work of teenagers with too much time on their hands and little respect. People in the community say since there is no fence around the property, it has become a regular playground for ATVs and gold carts.

"I'm not angry with the person who did it. It's just the circumstances surrounding it," said Gibbs. "There should be a fence or something protecting it from people who want to vandalize."

Police say they are investigating. Meanwhile, Heartland News found out this cemetery is privately owned, unlike the two other cemeteries in town.

At H.S. Smith Funeral Home, they say they are looking at putting in concrete posts or a small fence to make the area less of a target. Family members say they won't rest until they know Annie Mae Jackson can finally rest in peace.

"That's what my family is asking for," said Hollywood."We just want justice for my grandmother."

Heartland News was told the fence around the other cemeteries was paid for by the city cemetery fund.

A spokesperson for H.S. Smith says the city would be welcome to put up a fence near the alley. However the funeral home does plan to put up some protection.

They say the headstone should be fixed at no charge to the family.

H.S. Smith would also like to see more respect shown toward the property.

Copyright 2012 KFVS. All rights reserved.

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