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Thursday, May 2, 2013 - 6:00am

Second Cemetery Desecration Suspect Caught

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

Burke County sheriff's Sgt. Sean Cochran said 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.