Texarkana community relieved that cemetery vandalism is over - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Texarkana community relieved that cemetery vandalism is over

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Charles Santifer, right, says he expects a cemetery to be considered sacred. His mother and grandmother are buried there. Charles Santifer, right, says he expects a cemetery to be considered sacred. His mother and grandmother are buried there.
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TEXARKANA, AR (KSLA) -

The arrest of several children accused of destroying gravestones at a Texarkana, Arkansas cemetery has brought relief to those responsible for its upkeep and the community at large.

"It's a sacred place, and I expect it to be sacred, you know," says Charles Santifer, whose mother and grandmother are buried in the Stateline/Woodlawn Cemetery.

In recent weeks Santifer and family have visited the cemetery frequently, "trying to see that there is no more destruction out here," he says.

Texarkana, Arkansas Police said on Monday that six children, led by a 13-year-old female ringleader, are behind months of vandalism occurring at the cemetery.

Authorities say the arrests of four juvenile boys and girls, and the identification of two juveniles too young to be charged, solve the case.

"I am so pleased the Texarkana, Arkansas Police Department has solved this crime," says Emily Tarr, president of the Stateline Cemetery Association.

"I am a little bit shocked at how young the children are, and that is very disheartening, not just for me but [for] the city -- to think that parents are not policing their children in better ways," Tarr says.

The association has decided to stop access to the cemetery between dusk and dawn.

As for the kids accused of vandalism, they will appear before a judge to determine what, if any, punishment they face.

"I think definitely restitution is in order. I think some significant time working in the cemetery, putting this back will benefit the community, and, hopefully, benefit the character of these young people," Tarr says.

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Texarkana Police: Kids behind vandalism at Stateline Cemetery SIDEBAR

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