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      Vandals strike cemetery

      Eldon is searching for cemetery vandals.

      The city said dozens of gravestones in Salem Cemetery were knocked off their base earlier in the week.

      "Just some kids apparently or somebody got a little wild for a night and we'll just have to clean up the mess and start over again," Eldon Public Works Director Steve Johnson said.

      Cemeteries are often seen as sacred and are known as a final resting place.

      But on Wednesday night in Eldon at least one person didn't, and now close to 90% of the head stones in Salem Cemetery lie where they shouldn't.

      "We came in yesterday morning and found the cemetery had been vandalized, Johnson said. A lot of the tombstones had been knocked over and broke."

      "It makes me kind of sick at the stomach, it's just ridiculous," Eldon resident Terry Franklin said. "It's just no respect for the deceased."

      Salem cemetery sits just behind Eldon TMs airport off a gravel road.

      "It's been here for about as long as Eldon has been."

      Veterans of both American and foreign wars graves are at Salem Cemetery, it's also the final resting spot for at least two World War I veterans.

      Some of the grave markers date all the way back to the 1800's.

      "Some of these are my relatives I TMm sure, my family has been around here since the 1800's," Franklin said.

      "I hope they know what kind of disrespect they've caused and the heartache they've caused to the people that has family here," Johnson said.

      Salem Cemetery is part of Eldon TMs history Johnson believes and it should be taken care of.

      "It's old and has a lot of history to it and it costs a lot to keep it updated and when you have something like this it's hard to go and replace tombstones that are 100 years old," Johnson said.

      As the city of Eldon tries to figure out its next step, Franklin wants the vandals to know what they did is not OK.

      "I hope they prosecute them to the fullest, i mean, somebody should pay for what they've done," Franklin said. "It will come back to them, sooner or later, it may take a while but it will come back to them."

      The men both said the community will pull together to make this cemetery peaceful once again.

      Johnson said the city has plans with a man who restores graves.

      They hope to get as many restored as they can, but Johnson said the broken ones will be replaced.