Kentucky police investigate death threats over grave moving

Published 10:57 am Thursday, July 22, 2021

Kentucky State Police are investigating after someone made death threats to Clay County school officials over plans to move graves from a cemetery on school property, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported.

The threatening emails started last week, a day after the Clay County Fiscal Court voted to authorize moving the graves.

Superintendent William Sexton and board Chairman Mark Hoskins both received threatening emails, said Sharon Allen, attorney for the Clay County Board of Education. Allen said she could not release details, but the emails mentioned guns and threats to kill people. School officials could not tell who sent the emails.

Hoskins said the emails may have been a hoax, but the school board has an obligation to take them seriously. Other school employees also received emails related to the proposed move of the 128-year-old cemetery, but those were not directly threatening, Allen said.

The cemetery is atop a steep hill overlooking Manchester Elementary School and is near Clay County High School. It covers about a third of an acre and contains about 80 graves, including two graves of Civil War veterans. The school board says the cemetery poses a potential safety threat to the schools.
Family members of some people buried at the Hoskins Cemetery have protested the plan to move the graves. The last burial in the cemetery was in 2005, but supporters said it has not been abandoned and families have plans for future burials there.

Stella B. House, a Manchester attorney, said cemetery supporters have contacted state and federal officials to try to stop the school board from moving the graves. She said they will sue to block the removals if necessary.

“They disagree highly with the decision by the school board and fiscal court to disturb the peace of those resting there,” House said. “Our goal is to fight this in a civil manner.”