Rewards offered in case of stolen Hawkins County gravestones

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An up-to $5,000 reward is being offered by a Hawkins County man after two Civil War soldiers’ gravestones were stolen from his property.

According to Joseph Funaro, those gravestones were stolen from his Bulls Gap property on Beech Grove Road sometime between March 21 and March 29, 2019.

Joseph told News Channel 11 he recently bought the farm. There’s no family connection to the property.

“Whoever it was knew the property. Obviously it was someone familiar.”

He said someone went out to the two Civil War-era cemeteries on property and dug holes. He believes they were looking for artifacts.

Joseph’s son, Tom Funaro, said that once the fmaily learned there were two cemeteries on the property, they made it it one of their highest priorities to ensure they were properly maintained.

The people that told us about the cemeteries didn’t know anything about them or the people buried in them,” Tom wrote to News Channel 11 in an email.”Cheryl, my wife, and I did some research and found the names of the two cemeteries and about some of the people buried in the Cedar Thicket Cemetery (also recorded as the Couch Cemetery).”

As for the two headstones taken, one belonged to the grave marked Peter Couch, COD 8th Tennessee Infantry.

The other gravestone was laying nearby and was marked Couch. Joseph Funaro believed that grave belonged to Peter’s brother, William.

The elder Funaro filed a police report with the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office on April 6, when he discovered the thefts.

Joseph told News Channel 11 that if the grave markers are brought back undamaged, he will give the person $1,000. Funaro said there’s also a $5,000 award for information leading to an arrest and conviction. Anyone wanting the return the headstones can call Funaro at (407) 496-0068.

Any information can also be directed to HCSO at (423) 272-4848.

“It just bugs me that someone would do this,” Joseph said. “What are they going to do with them? Put them in their garage? It’s just silly.”

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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