A Hamilton family is reeling after a much-loved brother and son’s grave site was vandalized in a Mountain cemetery some time Thursday night.
George Chamoun’s tombstone was just one of over a dozen that were found toppled over Friday morning in the Mount Hamilton Cemetery at the corner of Rymal Road East and Upper Wellington Street.
“I don’t know why someone would do this to us,” Kathy Chamoun, George’s sister, told CBC Hamilton. “I just don’t understand it.”
Her brother passed away four years ago at the age of 29 when he collapsed on a hike while working in British Columbia. Chamoun’s father still visits his son’s grave twice a day. He was the one that discovered the tombstone had been vandalized.
“He came back crying and said ‘people vandalized your brother’s stone,'” she said. “It’s worse for him.”
Hamilton police say 14 monuments in the graveyard were pushed over sometime after dark — but don't have any suspect information yet.
"Police have taken a report and the investigation is ongoing," police Const. Debbie McGreal-Dinning told CBC Hamilton in an email.
There are no security cameras in the cemetery, which may make tracking down the suspects difficult, says Crystabelle Fobler, the city's superintendent of cemeteries.
"People don't realize what a sacred place this is and how much they're hurting a family," she said. "Why would you even do it?"
As the Mount Hamilton Cemetery is one of 67 run by the city, all repairs for vandalism are covered by the municipality, Fobler says. Crews have called in an area monument dealer to help with repairs. An early estimate places the damage at just under $5,000.
"We are working to correct the situation," she said.
Fobler has been working in Hamilton cemeteries for almost two decades. She's only seen vandalism like this about five times in her career. The last time the city had to deal with cemetery cleanup was back in 2006 at the old Hamilton cemetery on York Boulevard.
"We haven't seen this in many years," she said.
While the police search for suspects, the Chamoun family is trying to pick up the pieces from the "emotional carnage" the damage has brought.
"We have dozens of family members buried there."