MAIDEN –The town of Maiden awoke this morning to heavy damage to the Maiden Municipal Cemetery, where at least 20 grave markers are damaged and tire tracks are torn into the grass.

“It’s sad, nothing is sacred anymore,” said Maiden Town Manager Todd Herms. “We have not seen anything before that rises to this level of damage.”

The town has called in a professional from Conover to assess the total damage, but the loss is expected to be at least $20,000, according to a press release from Maiden police. The town is currently working on a repair plan to restore the cemetery to its previous condition.

“It is our responsibility as a town to return the graveyard to how it was before,” Herms said. “Families should not have to wait months for this to happen.”

The cemetery’s war memorial was damaged as well, with a flagpole that held an American flag knocked to the ground.

Police arrested James Shay Lee Walker, 47, of Maiden, as a suspect for the vandalism. He is charged with driving while under the influence, hit and run and possession of an open container. Maiden Police did not release the severity of the current charges.

“We are pursuing the most serious charges that the magistrate will allow,” Ledford said. The police have filed additional charges of felony disturbing of a grave marker and misdemeanor injury to real property.

Walker’s arrest occurred around 11 p.m. on Jan. 11, after he drove his 1998 Ford F-150 into the graveyard at “high speed,” according to the release.

The magistrate issued Walker a $5,000 unsecured bond and a $2,500 secured bond. Walker is scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday.

Maiden Municipal Cemetery, located at 211 E. Cemetery Street, is one of two municipal cemeteries in Maiden; the other is the Rosenwald Cemetery.

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