Manhunt for skateboarders seen vandalizing gravesite of President Ford and Betty Ford
Two suspects in Michigan have turned themselves in after allegedly defacing the gravesites of former President Gerald R. Ford and first lady Betty Ford last week, authorities said Thursday.
The Grand Rapids Police Department didn’t identify the suspects, who were caught on camera around 4 p.m. March 27 at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum in Grand Rapids. But the male suspect later spoke to a local newspaper and identified himself. The name and age of the female suspect were unkown.
GRAVESITES OF FORMER PRESIDENT GERALD FORD, FIRST LADY BETTY FORD VANDALIZED IN MICHIGAN, POLICE SAY
“Both subjects seen in the video have come forward and are cooperating with investigators,” police said in a Facebook post. “At the completion of the investigation, the report will be forwarded to the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office for review. We’d like to thank the media and citizens for their assistance with this case."
A man and woman who can be seen trying to pry off a letter at the gravesite of former President Gerald Ford and first lady Betty Ford at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum in Grand Rapids, Mich. The two suspects later turned themselves in to police.
(Grand Rapids Police Department)
The pair arrived on skateboards and appeared to pull off a metal “E” from the word “committed” on a wall of the burial site, where the phrase “Lives Committed to God, Country and Love” is inscribed along with the names of the Fords and the years they were born and died.
One suspect, a 19-year-old man named Chris Johnson who had recently moved to Michigan from Indiana, told the Grand Rapids Press that he returned the "E" and was “sorry.” He also said he didn’t know it was a gravesite or that Ford was a former president.
“I’m sorry it happened and I’m sorry I broke it,” he told the paper. “It wasn’t malicious. I didn’t know what it was and now I’m in the works of trying to fix things.”
Former President Gerald Ford and First Lady Betty Ford are interred at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum in Grand Rapids, Mich.
Ford served as the 38th president of the United States from 1974 to 1977, taking office after the resignation of President Richard Nixon. Ford earlier had been appointed vice president following the resignation of Spiro Agnew.
Ford died in December 2006 at age 93. The former first lady died in 2011, also at age 93.
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Museum officials told FOX17 of Grand Rapids they had to spend $400 to replace the stolen letter. After the original "E" was returned, a spokesman expressed the museum's appreciation.
“The staff is glad that the person who is responsible decided to bring it back and is cooperating with police,” said Geir Gundersen. “We look forward to visitors returning to the museum and grave site.
Fox News’ Travis Fedschun contributed to this report.
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