Natchez police announce arrest in vandalism of Turning Angel Monument

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NATCHEZ, Miss. (WJTV) – The Natchez Police Department announced the arrest of a suspect involved in the vandalism of the Turning Angel Monument at the Natchez City Cemetery.

The suspect has been identified as Austin Petty. Police said he has been charged with felony malicious mischief. His bond is expected to be set at $50,000.

Investigators discovered the monument had been damaged on June 23, 2020. They received information that the suspect was possibly Petty.

After tracking him down, officers discovered that additional individuals were at the cemetery when the incident happened. On June 23, shortly after 1:00 a.m., a white SUV pulled up. According to a video and other occupants of the vehicle, Petty jumped out of the SUV and went over to the monument.

The occupants stated Petty began to rock the Turning Angel when it fell over. They then drove off. The occupants stated that they tried to get Petty to go talk to the police. Police said the occupants were cooperative in the investigation.

The monument is 112-years old. It was placed in the cemetery by the owner of the Natchez Drug Company to commemorate the lives of five girls who died when the building exploded in 1908.

Damage to the monument is estimated to be around $40,000. The cemetery is asking for donations that will go toward re-erecting the statue. If you are interested in donating, you can send donations to the Natchez City Cemetery Turning Angel Fund at:

Turning Angel Fund
P.O. Box 1738
Natchez, Mississippi 39121

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