The victims or deceased names from the given information are not provided. : “Cemetery in Cottageville Vandalized, Residents Shocked and Upset Over Grave Desecration”

Death – Obituary – Accident and Crime News : COTTAGEVILLE, S.C. (WCSC) – The tight-knit community of Cottageville, South Carolina, was left in shock and disbelief after a local cemetery became the target of a senseless act of vandalism. Ackerman Cemetery, located on Red Oak Road, fell victim to the destructive actions of unknown individuals, leaving at least 44 gravestones damaged and cherished floral tributes destroyed. The sight of their loved ones’ final resting places transformed into a crime scene has left residents devastated and at a loss for words.

The Colleton County Sheriff’s Office swiftly launched an investigation into the incident and announced that an adult, identified as 20-year-old Ethan Cole Melton, along with two juveniles, are facing charges for the desecration of burial grounds. Melton has been taken into custody and is currently being held at the Colleton County Detention Center on a $35,000 surety bond.

The gravity of the situation is felt deeply by those directly affected. Cathy Addison, who had her and her late husband’s tombstone destroyed, expressed her profound hurt, stating, “I just can’t imagine anybody that would want to do this kind of destruction.” The emotional distress is shared by many, including Brandy Branton, whose family members’ tombstones were also damaged. Branton hopes that the underage offenders will receive appropriate consequences and truly grasp the severity of their actions.

Ackerman Cemetery holds significant historical and sentimental value to the community. Established in 1862 as a family burial ground, the sacred grounds are reserved exclusively for descendants of its founding members. The cemetery serves as the final resting place for Confederate soldiers, World War I veterans, and the great-great uncles and grandmothers of countless families across the nation. The desecration of this hallowed ground strikes at the heart of the community’s heritage and respect for their ancestors.

The Colleton County Sheriff’s Office’s public information officer, Shalane Tindall, has confirmed that the two juvenile offenders will face charges through the Department of Juvenile Justice. As their identities cannot be disclosed due to their age, it remains unclear whether they are currently in custody or have been released.

In the face of this devastating act, the Cottageville community seeks solace and justice. They yearn for the restoration of their cemetery’s sanctity and hope that the perpetrators, regardless of their age, will come to understand the profound impact of their actions.

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