Police ID suspect in Memorial Day cemetery vandalism

Damaged tombstones in the Vreeland cemetery. (Flat Rock Historical Society/Facebook)

Police in Flat Rock, Michigan say they have found the suspect responsible for the vandalism at a historic cemetery in Michigan.

Police said the suspect is a juvenile who was positively identified from tips received via social media.  The original story, reported by Popular Military, was shared more than 800 times on Facebook.

“We are still investigating this heinous crime and will keep you posted on the outcome,” Flat Rock police wrote in a post on their Facebook page, thanking the public for their assistance. “It’s awesome to see the power of social media and the internet used for good. Your help has certainly helped us to quickly identify a suspect. It’s also good to see so many young people wanting to help solve this crime.”

The historic Vreeland cemetery -located in Flat Rock, Michigan – was the target of vandalism just before Memorial Day.

Damaged tombstones in the Vreeland cemetery. (Flat Rock Historical Society/Facebook)
Damaged tombstones in the Vreeland cemetery. (Flat Rock Historical Society/Facebook)

According to the Flat Rock Historical Society, the Vreeland Family Burrying Ground was the original resting place of Michael Vreeland, a revolutionary war patriot and founder of Flat Rock, his sons and their families.

Several of Michael Vreeland’s sons served in the War of 1812 and Indian conflicts, according to Fox2.

“Michael had a grandson named Michael who joined the 4th Michigan during the Civil War and he was to fight in another important Pennsylvania battle, Gettysburg, and eventually received the rank of Brevet Brig. General,” according to the Freeland Historical Society.

Vreeland’s remains were moved to Oakwook Cemetary in 1888- about 1 mile away – but fourteen other gravestones from the early and mid-1800s were smashed to pieces, according to the Detroit Free Press.

In 2014, all of the gravestones in the Vreeland cemetary were meticulously repaired with the help of funding from the city of Flat Rock.  The cemetery is located on the western edge of Huroc Park in Flat Rock – which is about 30 minutes south of Detroit.

The police have yet to release the name of the juvenile suspect in its ongoing investigaion.  The Flat Rock Historical society says it has received numerous donations from all around the country and expects to repair the headstones for a second time, according to CBS.

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