Arrests made, statues restored in Catholic church vandalized in Florida | National Catholic Registry

Three people were arrested March 5 as suspects in the February 23 incident in Jacksonville.

When Holy Family Catholic Church in Jacksonville, Florida learned that three people had been arrested as suspects in a vandalism incident involving the defacing of their Holy Family statues, the response was a call to prayer.

“Let us pray for them,” the church said in a statement.

The three suspects were arrested on March 5 for writing “Hail Satan” and other vulgar images on a group of three statues honoring the Holy Family outside the church on February 23. Freeman Yardley, 24, Promise Yardley, 18 and Blessing Yardley, 22. , were each charged with criminal mischief to the church/other place of worship, which is a third degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison. It is not known if the three suspects are related.

The marble statues of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Infant Jesus and Saint Joseph bore vulgar or satanic images written in black marker. Surveillance footage shows three people at the scene, two of whom appear to be writing on the statues. You can watch the church videos of the incident here and here.

In its statement, the Holy Family Catholic Church said all three had confessed to the crime. But the arrest reports block what the three suspects told police in statements made before their arrest.

Arrest report shows a groundskeeper at Holy Family Catholic Church alerted police on March 5 when he saw two women matching the suspects’ description enter a nearby apartment less than a mile from the ‘church. Police were able to verify and identify the suspects, Blessing Yardley and Promise Yardley, and after interviewing them individually, proceeded to arrest them. Freeman Yardley was later arrested at his workplace.

The three were listed Thursday as being in a Jacksonville remand center, with bond set at $15,003. They are due to be arraigned on March 29.

The statues have been restored, announces the church. “Thanks to the incredible work of Angel Corrales and our maintenance staff, the statues are cleaner and more beautiful than ever!” Father David Keegan, pastor of Holy Family, wrote in a Facebook post March 7. Corrales, who was hired to do the restoration, said in a Facebook post that he was honored to do the job.

He wrote: “Thank you for trusting me with such beautiful work.”

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