DENHAM SPRINGS, LA (WAFB) - Tombstone decorations are vanishing from gravesites and the people who care for the cemetery say they're not behind it, so one woman is determined to get to the bottom of it.
The pain is visible on the face of Denise Smith of Denham Springs. Her brother, Dennis Marcantel, died unexpectedly six years ago.
"He was always, always a good brother, a good son, and he was a mama's baby," Smith said. "He was the youngest of five."
The 40-year-old said her brother's grave and possibly others are being targeted. She said in the past year, thieves have stolen flowers and balloons about a half-dozen times. The most recent incident happened just two weeks ago on the anniversary of his death.
"It's hard enough to come out here, but to come out here and find that the things we put up to celebrate him. We come back the next day or two days later and it's gone," Smith explained.
She is not alone. Evelyn Gaye Duncan has been visiting the Memorial Cemetery since 1965 when her son died at just 9 years old. The 80-year-old was at the cemetery Tuesday when she noticed something was off. For the first time in 50 years, her flowers were gone.
"There were flowers missing off of this one when I came today," Duncan said. "We bring them here because this is our loved ones and we are paying a tribute to them and we'd like for them to stay where we put them."
Duncan then went on her way, but Smith made a call to police. An officer with the Denham Springs Police Department arrived minutes later.
City workers who maintain the cemetery said they are not the ones removing decorations.
The officer who Smith called said police will follow up on her complaint. He said the activity is criminal and police will investigate, starting with more patrols around the cemetery.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call investigators with the Denham Springs Police Department at 225-665-5106.