Arrests Made, Statues Restored at Vandalized Catholic Church in Florida
Three people were arrested March 5 as suspects in the Feb. 23 Jacksonville incident.
When Holy Family Catholic Church in Jacksonville, Florida, learned that three people were arrested as suspects in a vandalism incident involving defacement of their statues that depict the Holy Family, the response was a call for prayer.
“Let us pray for them,” the church said in a statement.
The three suspects were arrested March 5 for writing “Hail Satan” and other vulgar images on a group of three statues honoring the Holy Family outside the church on Feb. 23. Freeman Yardley, 24, Promise Yardley, 18, and Blessing Yardley, 22, were each charged with criminal mischief to church/other place of worship, which is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison. It is not clear if the three suspects are related.
The marble statues of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Child Jesus and St. Joseph had either vulgar or Satanic images written on them in black marker. Surveillance footage shows three people at the scene, two of whom appear to write on the statues. You can watch the church's videos of the incident here and here.
In its statement, Holy Family Catholic Church said that all three had confessed to the crime. But arrest reports block out what the three suspects said to police in statements made before their arrest.
The arrest report shows that a groundskeeper from Holy Family Catholic Church alerted police on March 5 when he saw two females who matched the description of the suspects walking into a nearby apartment less than a mile away from the church. Police were able to verify and identify the suspects, Blessing Yardley and Promise Yardley, and after interviewing them individually, made their arrests. Freeman Yardley was arrested later at his workplace.
The three were listed on Thursday as being in a pretrial detention facility in Jacksonville, with bail set at $15,003. They are scheduled to be arraigned on March 29.
The statues have been restored, the church announced. “Thanks to the amazing work of Angel Corrales and our maintenance staff, the statues are clean and looking better than ever!” Father David Keegan, Pastor at Holy Family, wrote in a Facebook post on 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.”
- church vandalism