HONOLULU (KHON2) — Another Oahu cemetery was desecrated, with more than a dozen headstones damaged at the Kawaiahao Church Cemetery. Some of the kupuna buried at the cemetery date back to the 1800s, but this upsetting situation feels like Deja Vu, this is not the first time the sacred grounds have been desecrated.
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It happened back in 2019 when 27 headstones were toppled at the Kawaiahao Church Cemetery, and just weeks ago, it happened again. Church leadership said 17 headstones were intentionally damaged.
This is a hurtful sight for Kai Markell, he has ohana resting at the cemetery and also serves as the Office of Hawaiian Affairs compliance manager.
Markell said, “Initially anger, there’s kaumaha that heavy feeling of like a just a weight on your shoulders.”
Small orange flags mark the headstones that have been kicked over, the church said the Mason’s Union will be making the repairs, but for family members like Markell, this is more than property that has been damaged.
Markell said, “It’s hurtful to see the disrespect and it’s probably came from somebody who is possibly angry at the world.”
Some headstones are damaged more than others, but for Markell, the level of disrespect hits the same across the board. Some of the headstones date more than 200 years.
The Mason’s Union said they are gathering about a dozen volunteers to start repairs in the next couple of weeks.
Church officials said they believe it was a woman caught on security video.
Markell said, “If they are able to locate somebody who did it then it is a criminal misdemeanor like I said, desecration of a place of worship or a burial.”
Police said second-degree criminal property damage and desecration reports were made. The investigation is ongoing.