Public asked for help after truck causes ‘substantial damage’ to cemetery

A Google Map showing the location of Salem Baptist Church near the town of Climax, GA.
A Google Map showing the location of Salem Baptist Church near the town of Climax, GA.

UPDATE: Whigham man charged in connection with damage to Climax cemetery (12/12/14)

The Decatur County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s help in finding out who caused “substantial damage” to the cemetery of a small church near Climax, GA.

Sometime late on Saturday night or early Sunday, someone drove a pickup truck into the cemetery of Salem Baptist Church near Climax and caused substantial damage to the graves located there, said Capt. Gale Bowyer, a crime scene investigator with the Decatur County Sheriff’s Office.

“It’s upsetting that someone would show such disrespect both to the dead and to the church,” Bowyer said.

Several of the truck’s parts fell off while it was running over the graves, and Sheriff’s Office investigators were able to determine that the parts came from a 2005-2006 Ford F-150 pickup truck, Capt. Bowyer said. The color of the truck was not able to be determined.

The truck that caused the damage to the cemetery should be damaged on the left-side front of the vehicle and is missing part of its bumper, a fog light and part of its front grille, according to Bowyer. It might also be leaking transmission fluid or radiator coolant.

After being called out to the cemetery on Sunday, Sheriff’s deputies followed a trail of transmission fluid out of the cemetery and onto Salem Church Road. The trail continued south on Salem Church Road, crossing over Open Pond Road and finally the trail stopped about a half-mile north of the intersection of Salem Church Road and Old Whigham Road.

“Not far from where the trail stopped, we found a box of coolant containers, numerous beer cans and hay-baling twine,” Bowyer said. “You could tell where someone had emptied out the coolant containers. We’re processing all of that now for fingerprints.”



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