Graves vandalized, desecrated in two Neb. towns

Published: Jun. 8, 2016 at 10:25 PM CDT
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The graves of those we love are a sacred spot, so imagine having a stranger plucking out your flowers, flags and mementos. For the people of Wisner and Beemer, Nebraska that nightmare was a reality Tuesday.

"It's like somebody hurt my son. Whether he's dead or alive it feels the same way,” said Robin Hansen.

Her son was a Marine who died at the age of 28 from a heart attack. The Catholic cross, prayer stones left by his wife, and even a flag from his favorite football team was all ripped from where they solemnly lay.

"He made sure he ripped the flag in half,” said Hansen.

The suspect broke crosses and flag poles and lights into pieces, then piled them up like a trash heap. A local Beemer officer put a stop to things, he put the man in cuffs to stop the destruction.

"Down here we found a lot of graves that had been destroyed," Hansen took WOWT 6 News through what was left after the damage.

At the time they didn't know he'd already torn up the graves in the neighboring town of Wisner.

"We were very angry last night. Very angry. I don't know how many times I opened that cops door and ripped him a new one,” said Hansen.

One of those times they snapped a picture of the man as she asked him ‘why?’

"He told me he was trying to get rid of the plastic crap,” said Hansen. “Nothing he said made sense."

Wednesday locals came back to the cemetery to sort through the items left unbroken. They returned what they could to the right graves.

"There's no saying he won’t go out to another cemetery and do this,” Hansen told WOWT 6 News.

The man isn't in jail; He was released with a ticket. The people of Beemer just want him and anyone who may ever think of doing something like this they shouldn’t do it here or anywhere.

“They aren't just bodies in the ground, they're our loved ones and this is the only place we have to go to be with them," Hansen said.

Others from the town will be at the first hearing for the man police told them carried out these acts. WOWT 6 News has not yet named the suspect yet because all the sheriff's office and county attorney could confirm Wednesday is that "an investigation is under way."