Death is sacred, and most people feel cemeteries are, too. Imagine finding a loved one's grave knocked over, spray painted or ripped completely out of the ground. It's hard to imagine, which makes some vandalism at Maplewood Cemetery in Charlottesville all the more heartbreaking.
The gravestones show part of Charlottesville's past, marked with messages of grief and love for people who passed away centuries ago. Now, they're marked with something more: vandals have marked on some of the graves.
For the neighbors who walk through the cemetery routinely, it's a shock. "They're horrified. The kids were horrified when they walked through. It's a beautiful old graveyard," said Barbara McKenna, who lives close to the cemetery.
But the city of Charlottesville says it's a random occurrence and not a growing trend. "It's very sporadic. Most of the time it's correctable. Most of the time it's hard to get in touch with the families because this is such an old cemetery," stated Charlottesville Spokesperson Ric Barrick.
Though the city says they have a groundskeeper, neighbors we spoke to said no one is there at night to keep vandals and vagrants away. The city says they do what they can.
"We're doing our best. Again, it's very unfortunate, but we will get the repairs taken care of as quickly as we can," assured Brian Daly, with Charlottesville Parks and Recreation.
So they'll clean up the graves and wash away the paint. They'll try to preserve this piece of Charlottesville's past. Daly said, "It is a historic property located in the historic district of the city and it's our duty to take care of it."