Wooden cross burned on Kirksville lawn

Photo by John Garlock

Update: May 1, 2014-

Kirksville Police have identified a suspect they believe was involved in the burning of cross on a Kirksville lawn.

Based on evidence obtained during the investigation, the incident appears to be related to an ongoing family dispute and did not involve any racial motives.

The investigation will continue and criminal charges are pending. Because of the nature of the crime and community concern, police are releasing this preliminary information in hopes of calming some fears that this was a racially motivated crime. More information will follow as the investigation develops.

If you believe you have any information regarding this or other police investigations, you are encouraged to contact the Kirksville Police Department at (660) 785-6945, Central Dispatch at (660) 665-5621, Adair County Sheriffâ??s Office at (660) 665-4600, or anonymously at (660) 627-BUST (2878) or police


Police are investigating a possible hate crime in Kirksville.

Investigators are looking into the burning of cross on a Kirksville lawn.

The six-and-a-half foot tall wooden cross was burned at 301 East Porter Street just after 3 a.m. Friday.

The woman who lives at the residence is white.

She didn't want to go on camera, but she told KTVO her son is black.

She said her neighbors on one side are Puerto Rican and three black families live in the home on the other side of her.

Lt. Mark Wellman with the Kirksville Police Department said officers were called to the neighborhood by a resident a few houses down who reported suspicious activity.

When police got there, the cross that had been set on fire was no longer burning.

It looks like whoever committed the act wrapped the cross in a lace curtain and then set that on fire.

You can still see melted remnants of that curtain on the lawn along with burned grass.

During the investigation, a man living not too far from this neighborhood reported his wooden cross had been stolen.

He told officers he had made the cross for his grandfather's grave.

Right now, police are trying to figure out who stole the cross and set it on fire.

The investigation continues.

Police have no suspects at this time.

All of the residents in the duplex where the incident happened slept through the commotion.

They told KTVO they didn't even know about the incident until seeing it reported on KTVO News at 6.