Grave marker stolen from Hampton cemetery, family offering reward

Published 8:40 am Friday, August 11, 2017

A grave marker was stolen from a Carter County cemetery and the family is now offering a reward for its return.

On Friday, August 4, Clara Craft reported to the Carter County Sheriff’s Office that someone had stolen the foot marker from the gravesite of her son, Kenneth Wayne Bailey.

Craft said her son Kenneth was buried in the William Whitehead Cemetery in the Dennis Cove community following his death in 2004 and the grave markers were installed in 2005.

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The family purchased the custom made head marker and foot marker, which are cast in metal. The headmarker features an image of a man kneeling at a cross holding the reins to his horse as well as the name Kenneth Wayne Bailey. The foot marker displays the phrase “God forbid I got to a Heaven where there are no horses.”

While the head marker is still standing on Bailey’s grave, Craft said the foot marker was stolen, and she believes the theft occurred in recent weeks.

The foot marker is about three-feet long and about 18 inches tall, and is made of black metal, Craft said.

“That had been there for 12 years, and someone takes a notion to steal it now. That’s pretty low,” Craft said. “I just can’t believe anyone’s down enough to steal that youngun’s foot marker.

The foot marker was embedded in the ground with concrete footers on each end. The marker was heavy with the concrete attached and Craft said she believes it would have taken two people to have removed it from the ground and taken it away.

“They had to dig it up,” Craft said. “They took concrete and all then they filled the holes back in.”

The Carter County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the theft from the grave.

Under a state law that went into effect on July 1, desecrating a place of worship or burial is now a felony. A change to the laws regarding the desecration of a place of worship or burial upgrades the crime from a Class A Misdemeanor to a Class E felony, which means those convicted of the offense will face larger fines and longer prison sentences.

Anyone who has any information regarding the theft of the foot marker or its whereabouts is asked to contact the Carter County Sheriff’s Office at 423-542-1845. Anonymous tips can also be submitted online through the Sheriff’s Office website. To submit an online tip, go to, click on contact us, and select “Crime Tip.”

Craft said the family is offering a reward for the return of her son’s foot marker.