Vandals smash, topple headstones at historic cemetery

SNOHOMISH, Wash. - More than a dozen headstones were knocked over or smashed at a historic cemetery in Snohomish where many of the city's founders are buried.

"I feel bad about all of the vandalism," said Colleen Wall who first noticed the damage in September.

Wall has five generations of family buried at Marshland Cemetery, including her husband, Edward, who died last year.

"We were married 59 years and he brought me over here and said this is where I want to be buried," said Wall.

The headstone for Wall's husband was placed at the cemetery a few weeks ago but was untouched. Wall said she's still concerned about what's happening to other people's property.

"It's not only his. It's all these old ones that I think touch my heart more than a lot of them because they're broken and how can they be repaired?"

Some of the tombstones at Marshland Cemetery date back to the 1800's. Many who are buried there no longer have family in the area.

"You take care of that all those years and stuff and have your family in there and somebody comes and messes it up," said Verna Jones of Everett.

Her husband and in-laws are buried at Marshland. She came to the cemetery on Sunday to check on her family's property. There was no damage this time, but during a previous incident vandals knocked over a stone and damaged the granite.

"I don't know what reason or rhyme why they do it but they do," said Jones.

"I've never seen any beer cans or debris, but just the broken tombstones. It's a shame," said neighbor Kathy Cote who noticed some of the vandalism last month during a walk with neighbors.

"We were gonna try to get together and lift the things up but couldn't figure out how to lift them. You'd need a crane or something. They're huge," said Cote.

A non-profit cemetery board oversees Marshland Cemetery. They want to preserve the history, but they don't have the money to repair the damaged headstones.

"These represent people, families. You just didn't break a rock, you broke some body's tombstone," said Wall's daughter Sharon Wikstrom.

The vandalism was reported to the Snohomish County Sheriff's office but there are no suspects.