On Aug. 8 at 9:30 a.m. the Livingston village officer reported to the Grant County Sheriff's Department that there was extensive vandalism reported at the Rock Church Cemetery. The cemetery is located in Clifton Township just west of Livingston. Deputies met with Pat Riley, cemetery caretaker who reported damage to approximately 100 tombstones and grave markers.
On the evening of Aug. 10 Grant County sheriff's deputies conducted several interviews relative to this incident and two people were arrested. Those arrested were Daniel R. Stivarius, 17, Fennimore and Briton B. Middleton, 17, Livingston
Both were charged with criminal damage to property and transported to the Grant County Jail. Both individuals posted a bond and were released from jail. Additional charges will be brought by the Grant County district attorney. Charges are pending in this case against at least one additional individual.
Grant County Sheriff Keith Govier commended his deputies for the quick work in solving these crimes that caused distress and concern to many in the Livingston area. He asks that anyone in the Livingston area who had mailbox or other vandalism damage on Aug. 10 that was not reported to the sheriff's department to call the sheriff's department at 723-2157.
According to Riley, they do not have an idea at this point, the amount of monetary damage to the cemetery. He, along with cemetery caretakers Frank Riley and Bob Place, will take an inventory of the stones. Many of the old ones that are in the section most damaged (dated back to the 1800's) are in more than one piece. The 20 in the other sections seem to be just laid over off of their base.
A Rock Church Cemetery vandalism restoration fund has been started to help with the financial burden of fixing the headstones.
Donations are being accepted at all Livingston State Bank branches.
In addition, anyone interested in donating to the fund may do so by sending the donation to: Stephanie (Straka) Anderson, P.O. Box 61, Livingston, WI or Rita (Oleson) Riley, P.O. Box 104, Livingston, WI 53554.
All donations received will be held in an account at Livingston State Bank until it is determined where the proceeds should be distributed. All of the proceeds will be used at the Rock Church Cemetery.
According to Govier, the investigation at the cemetery is presenting some challenges to the sheriff's department. He said his deputies are diligent in providing victim rights information to crime victims, but in this incstance, the lawful definition doesn't quite fit the crime. "Each drime victim in Wisconsin has certain rights, such as having their interests considered throughout the criminal justice process," said Govier. "In addition to the cemetery association being a victim, relatives of those who had marker and headstone damage could also be considered as victims. In those cases, the date of the headstone could go back more than 100 years."
Anyone who wishes to be kept up to date with the process or anyone who has questions about victim rights can contact the Grant County Crime/Witness Coordinator Darla Adams at 723-2462 or email@example.com.
• On Aug. 8, the Grant County Sheriff's Department began receiving calls at 7:50 a.m. from residents in the rural Livingston area reporting mailbox vandalism that occurred overnight. Grant County sheriff's deputies investigated at least 10 cases of stolen or damaged mailboxes in the Hopewell Road and Rock Church Road area by noon. In almost every location where a mailbox was damaged or stolen a single brick was left at the scene.