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Vandals Break Into 19th Century Tomb In New Bedford

By Jim Armstrong, WBZ-TV
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The Cook family crypt at New Bedford's Rural Cemetery.

The Cook family crypt at New Bedford’s Rural Cemetery.

WBZ-TV's Jim Armstrong Jim Armstrong
Jim Armstrong is an Emmy-award winning reporter who joined WBZ-TV in...
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NEW BEDFORD (CBS) – The Cook family crypt at New Bedford’s Rural Cemetery is sealed up, again, for what is hopefully for the final time.

Someone broke into the mausoleum this weekend, tearing the blocks from the door and crawling inside.

“I’m sure it was youth, unfortunately, because I can’t imagine that a grown adult would do something so bizarre,” said Anne Lauro, the city’s Historic Preservation Planner. “It’s very strange.”

WBZ-TV’s Jim Armstrong reports

“I grew up near here and the cemetery was our playground as kids,” Lauro explained. “You’re always a little curious as to what was inside these mausoleums. But it never entered into your head to do any desecration to find out.”

The vault in question contains the remains of Christopher Cook, who died in 1872.

It was last opened when his wife Emma died in 1889.

Until this weekend, that is.

Passersby spotted damage and told authorities.

When city workers arrived, they found human bones strewn about inside the mausoleum, and outside on the ground. They put the bones back in the couples’ coffins, before re-sealing the door for good.

New Bedford’s mayor said he was “literally nauseated” when he heard what had happened.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Laurie Kirby reports

“I don’t understand it,” said Mayor Scott Lang. “I don’t associate it with Halloween. I look at Halloween as a happy holiday, little kids out there, dressed up . . . this was just something that I was repulsed by.”

New Bedford police are investigating but do not yet have any witnesses or suspects.


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