Dilapidated cemetery again hit by vandals — and this time an urn is disturbed

Dilapidated cemetery again hit by vandals — and this time an urn is disturbed
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

PEARL CITY, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - When volunteers at Sunset Memorial Park came upon a corroded box during their weekly cleanup Sunday, they weren't sure what it was.

"It was just in the middle of these two headstones. She said it looked like a vase," said volunteer Gary Shim.

"So I said give me a rag and I started cleaning it and I said, 'Oh yeah, look.' And then the name started to come out."

Turns out, the corroded box was an urn — apparently disturbed at the cemetery by vandals.

The urn is still intact and bears the name Agapito Tabar along with his birthday: Aug. 18, 1911.

According to the plaque, Tabar died when he was 73 on Jan. 1, 1985.

"If it was my family member I would want to have him back. That's our goal to get him back to the rightful owners," said Shim.

It's a task that would be almost impossible without the public's help.

Shim says he was told records of who's buried at Sunset Memorial Park no longer exist.

Vandalism like this is just latest in a string of problems that have plagued the cemetery since the owner ran out of money nearly a decade ago.

Now the graveyard is a hangout for drug addicts. Squatters have even set up camp.

This is the second time in recent weeks someone's tampered with human remains at the cemetery.

In December, an unmarked tomb was ransacked. Bones were found scattered across the graveyard.

"It is not right. It's sad. I don't know what's going on here. If the people are taking them out or trying to pawn it for the brass," Shim said.

Hawaii News Now tried to contact the man who was seen collecting those remains to ask if they had been identified. Our phone calls were not returned.

Meanwhile, Shim is hopeful Agapito Tabar's ashes will soon be claimed.

"We just want to get him back to his family," said Shim.

The urn is now being kept at Leeward Funeral Home.

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