CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – Family members of a baby girl who was buried at Fowler Cemetery in Middleburg told News4Jax they found the child's grave had been desecrated, and they discovered her remains unearthed while visiting her resting place on Wednesday.
Deputies in Clay County are investigating after the cemetery was vandalized, the Sheriff's Office said.
News4Jax spoke with Maude Burris-Jackson, the child's great grandmother. She said her husband is buried next to the baby, and the headstone over his grave was knocked over.
"I just couldn't believe it. I just can't even imagine anybody being mean enough that would dig up a child," Burris-Jackson said.
According to investigators, a deputy found several headstones in the cemetery had been overturned. It's privately owned by a family.
Burris-Jackson's godson, Sir CJ Jaushlin, said he was alarmed when he noticed a doll-like figure on the ground.
"I was like, 'Why would y'all leave a little doll over right here?' I looked over and inside the hole, it's nothing but water," Jaushlin said. "They were like, 'No. That's what we buried her in,' and I'm like, 'This is the baby."'
Burris-Jackson said the baby, Makayla, was stillborn and buried in 2007.
"Whoever did this, I hope that they are brought forth and that they will pay a punishment," Burris-Jackson said. "Wherever you are, you can't hide. You will come forth."
Family members are planning to hold another funeral to rebury the child.
The Sheriff's Office said it was actively investigating. There was no description of a suspect.
"The desecration of a grave is a second-degree felony and a personal offense to me as the sheriff of our county," said Clay County Sheriff Darryl Daniels. "I will exhaust every resource to find out who perpetrated this crime and will follow this case to its conclusion in court."