‘The coffin is gone:’ 911 caller alerts deputies to grave site theft at Mount Dora cemetery

Lake County deputies say human remains were stolen from several grave sites

Graves disturbed at Edgewood Cemetery. (WKMG 2020)

MOUNT DORA, Fla. – An alert citizen driving by a Mount Dora cemetery saw something off and called 911 notifying the Lake County Sheriff’s Office about what they’re calling suspected ritualistic activity.

Deputies said they were called Sunday afternoon to Edgewood Cemetery at 3333 Britt Road about a complaint of vandalism to some of the graves.

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The 911 caller said she was driving past the cemetery and noticed a disturbed tomb stone. The woman, who was with her mother, drove into the cemetery and saw at least four grave sites that had been vandalized and called authorities, according to the 911 call.

“There are graves sites where the vault has been taken off and half of the coffin is gone,” the caller said. “I know this is the (unintelligible) call you’re going to get all day but...” she said, acknowledging the strange circumstances.

Deputies said the vandals disturbed four graves, all of which no longer held human remains, and attempted to access a fifth.

“The coffins have been removed, you said?” the dispatcher asked.

The top half of the coffins were gone, according to the caller.

Detectives said evidence suggests the incident is likely tied to some form of ritualistic activity.

“If that was my family, I wouldn’t want somebody coming and digging them up,” the 911 caller said.

Deputies said the concrete lids of at least two of the grave sites were broken into pieces and the caskets were pried open.

Deputies talked to residents who live nearby and they said they did not hear any loud noises coming from the cemetery.

A funeral was held at the cemetery Saturday, but a property representative said equipment used for the burial was removed around 3 p.m.

A Mount Dora police officer said she saw a white pop-up tent at the cemetery around 8:20 a.m. Saturday but did not notice anything out of the ordinary.

Crews were working Monday to repair the damage.

Deputies are asking for anyone who may have noticed any type of suspicious vehicles or activity at the cemetery Saturday night to call the Sheriff’s Office at 352-343-2101.