Second suspect in Burke County grave robbery arrested

After using disguises to elude arrest for about three weeks, the second suspect wanted in a Burke County grave robbery is now in custody.

Burke County sheriff’s Sgt. Sean Cochran said tips led police to a residence on Hancock Landing Road where Jerry Atkinson Jr., 39, was found around noon Wednesday.

“He had been disguised as a woman, wearing wigs and dresses,” Cochran said of Atkinson.

The Burke County Sheriff’s Office had been called to Old Church Cemetery on April 13 after a caretaker discovered old uniforms on the ground and at least five graves looted.

An investigation determined that the remains of an infant and corpses of five Confederate and Revolutionary War soldiers had been dug up.

Authorities offered a $2,000 reward for information on the culprits, which immediately began to generate results.

Police arrested Ralph Hillis Jr., 41, at a residence on April 22. Police said Atkinson was also at the home but fled, leaving a one-pot methamphetamine lab inside the home.

Atkinson and Hillis face felony charges of manufacturing methamphetamine and maliciously removing the dead from a grave.

James Ralph Morris, 44, who lives at the home on Hancock Landing Road, has been charged with hindering apprehension by harboring Atkinson.

Cochran said nothing from the graves has been recovered, but police continue to search.

The sheriff’s office is working with a professor at the University of West Georgia to help determine what items might have been in the grave.

Malicious removal of the dead from a grave carries a prison sentence of one to five years.

2 men charged in Burke County grave robbery
Burke County grave robbery suspect still on loose
Reward offered in Burke County cemetery desecration

More

Sat, 12/10/2016 - 00:48

Empty Stocking list

Sat, 12/10/2016 - 07:07

Woman raising grandkids needs a hand

An Augusta woman raising her five grandchildren on her own could use some help this holiday. Read more