Police are investigating an incident in which a 61-year-old grave in a Jewish cemetery was dug up in Hartford, Connecticut, possibly on Halloween.
The incident occurred in the cemetery of Agudas Achim, a 130-year-old Orthodox congregation, and was discovered on Wednesday November 6.
“We look this way, we see a big pile of dirt, we’re the only ones that dig here, so we walked over here, come to find out, discovered there’s a hole here,” a gravedigger for the cemetery, Tommy Valentin, told a local Fox affiliate.
Valentin also said that he found two dead birds at the scene, floating in rain water at the bottom of the grave.
Local news reports say that while the identity of the body dug up has not been disclosed, the tombstone said the grave’s occupant was buried in 1958.
“They found what appeared to be a hand-dug grave, other words it wasn’t done by machinery, it looked like maybe shovels, the grave looked like it was disturbed maybe three or four days ago,” said Lt. Aaron Boisvert of the Hartford police.
Though the cemetery is clearly marked as Jewish, police have not determined whether the disinterment was a hate crime. The Connecticut chapter of the Anti-Defamation League declined to speculate on the motive for the crime but called the incident “disconcerting and upsetting.” Jewish cemeteries around the country have seen graves marked with anti-Semitic graffiti and had their gravestones toppled or stolen in recent years.