Reward Offered After Remains Of Soldier And Child Were Dug Up - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

UPDATE: Suspect Arrested After Graves Of Soldier And Child Dug Up - PHOTOS

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Jerry Atkinson Jerry Atkinson
Ralph Bubba Hillis Ralph Bubba Hillis
BURKE COUNTY, Ga -

Update 5/2/2013

The second man accused of desecrating a historic cemetery has been arrested.

Burke County sheriff's Sgt. Sean Cochran tells the Augusta Chronicle tipsters led authorities to 39-year-old Jerry Atkinson Wednesday. Authorities last week arrested Atkinson's alleged 42-year-old accomplice Ralph "Bubba" Hillis. Atkinson and Hillis are accused of digging up and looting graves at the Old Church Cemetery near Waynesboro. The cemetery dates back to 1758 and holds remains of revolutionary and confederate soldiers. A caretaker found evidence of the desecration April 13. Among other things, a casket containing remains of a 14-month-old girl buried there in 1884 was removed and its contents dumped out. The men face charges of malicious removal of dead bodies from graves and drug charges. Cochran says nothing stolen from the graves has been recovered.

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One suspect is under arrest for grave robberies that happened in Burke County last week. And authorities are still looking for another suspect.

Burke County investigators say Ralph "Bubba" Hillis was arrested Monday evening in Richmond County.

A second suspect, Jerry Atkinson, is still wanted.

Both men are charged with malicious removal of the dead from a grave.

If you know the whereabouts of Jerry Atkinson, please call the Burke County Sheriff's oFfice at 706-554-2133. Callers may remain anonymous, and the Sheriff's office is crediting the overwhelming response and tips from the public in helping with this case

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(AP) Caretakers of one of Georgia's oldest cemeteries say the scene was heart-breaking: A toddler's bones were spilled on the ground. The uniform buried with a soldier in another plot was strewn on the ground.

Now, a reward of more than $2,000 is being offered for information on the desecration at the Old Church Cemetery, which dates to 1758 in the east Georgia countryside near Waynesboro.

Burke County sheriff's Sgt. Sean Cochran said clothing buried with a soldier was removed, leaving his bones exposed

Cochran said relic hunting is a possible motive.

Leroy Bell Jr., commander of the American Legion post that cares for the cemetery, discovered the damage Saturday. He said a small casket containing remains of 14-month Emma Jane McElmurray, buried in 1884, was removed and its contents dumped out.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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