Pasco deputies searching for grave vandals

PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office is asking for help from the public after two graves were disturbed at Crystal Springs Cemetery.

Chuck Flanagan, a volunteer groundskeeper, found a freshly dug hole directly on top of a gravesite while cutting grass last week.

The suspects also tried to remove the vault cover of a second grave.

Deputies believe the sites were disturbed between June 12 and June 21.

The suspects left behind a hand-drawn diagram of the cemetery, a Coke can, a Monster Energy drink, a 2-liter of Mountain Dew, rope and tire tracks.

“It must take a really sick mind to do something like this,” Flanagan said.

Flanagan said his wife Sharon Flanagan was buried in the cemetery four years ago. He’s been the groundskeeper ever since.

Deputies said the hole was roughly five feet deep and at least four feet wide. The deputy at the scene said there was only rain water in the hole.

Flanagan told deputies that the cemetery had been vandalized before but, “never like this.”

“Somebody who did this knew that the cemetery was here,” said Crystal Cornelius, president of the Crystal Springs Community Association. “We just want to catch who did this because it’s totally despicable.”

Cornelius told News Channel 8 that the grave where the hole was dug was vandalized 25 years ago and because of that, there is no record of who was buried there.

Deputies currently believe the crimes are a coincidence until they have evidence to prove otherwise.

That section of the cemetery is where people who founded the Crystal Springs community in the early 1900’s are buried, Cornelius said.

She said the second grave in the disturbed vault belonged to Elise Marguerit Brophy, wife of the first postmaster of Crystal Springs. Cornelius said Brophy was buried there in 1930.

Cornelius said they are having issues with wild hogs tearing up the cemetery and now they’re also dealing with the recent vandalism.

Investigators said there isn’t any security footage of the incident.

Anyone with details on the disruption of the graves should call the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.


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