Apr 24, 2013 4:08 PM by Rachel Cole - email@example.com
SAN DIEGO - The city of San Diego had inmates clean up the mess that was made over the weekend at the town's cemetery. This request comes after more than 100 headstones were damaged.
At least three people have been arrested for the destruction and could face up to 10 years in jail. Investigators with the Jim Wells County Sheriff's Office say the three suspects played with a Ouija board at the cemetery. When it didn't work, they got upset and trashed the area.
That's when city manager, Issabelle Garcia, asked a nearby prison for a favor, inmates to help clean up the cemetery.
"We went ahead and combined our parks and maintenance department with Glossbrenner and they're actually doing the clean up and the restoring of some of the tombstones," Garcia said.
10 inmates from a state prison near San Diego spent the day cleaning up the mess. The inmates chosen to help are low-risk inmates who have committed minor offenses.
After seeing the huge mess left behind by vandals, Garcia thought it would be a good idea to call the prison and get inmates to help haul out some of the larger stones.
"I spoke to the warden and what we're trying to do is pick up some of the stones for elderly people, the veterans section, people that don't have the money, the means to come out and clean the mess up that was made here," Garcia said.
Truck loads of debris were hauled out of the cemetery earlier Wednesday morning, when city employees and inmates teamed up to clean up the area, to put some of the families at ease who have loved ones buried.
Even though Tuesday's arrests have brought some relief to the city, Garcia says it wont fix the emotional destruction done to local family members of those laid here to rest. She shared the story of one resident who was angry about this weekend's incident at the cemetery.
"Ms. Garcia was here, kind of upset. Her parents tombstone was knocked over. So, she's just really grateful and thankful that were out here to help out the people that can't and she's one of them," Garcia said.
Even with inmates spending the entire day cleaning up, there is still more work to be done. Garcia says, this Saturday the city of San Diego is holding an event in hopes of having volunteers come out from 8A.M.-12P.M. to help continue the clean for families that make it out to the cemetery sites.