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'Just sickening': Vandals smash nearly 70 gravestones in Alabama cemetery

Kelly Kazek / The Huntsville Times

Keera Mosley, 9, kneels near the grave of her grandmother, Dessie Lene Mosley, whose tombstone was vandalized in Hatchett Cemetery in Tanner, Ala.

Officials in Alabama are searching for unknown vandals who they say overturned or broke nearly 70 gravestones in a cemetery sometime last week, al.com reported.

Limestone County Sheriff Capt. Stanley McNatt told NBC News that the desecration affected nearly 70 percent of the tombstones at Hatchett Cemetery in Tanner, Ala.

Members of the Little Ezekiel Missionary Baptist Church, which maintains the cemetery, suspect the incident occurred sometime between Wednesday and Friday of last week.

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Kelly Kazek / The Huntsville Times

Nearly 70 gravestones in Hatchett Cemetery in Tanner were overturned or broken by unknown vandals.

“It’s just sickening,” Howard Mosley, who said the headstones of his parents, aunts and uncles were included in the vandalism, told al.com.

The cemetery predominantly serves African-American families, but McNatt said there was no indication the desecration was a hate crime.

Cemetery board member James Lucas told al.com that his parents’ headstones were among those vandalized and that some families don’t have the money to replace the headstones that were smashed.

Lucas said he has no idea who may have vandalized the cemetery. “Whoever it turns out to be will surprise me,” he said. “There’s no reason why somebody would do that.”

The Limestone County Sheriff’s Department is still investigating the incident.

Church members are planning a work day Nov. 17 to try to repair some of the damage. 

NBC News' Edgar Zuniga Jr. contributed to this report. 

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