QUEBEC-RESEARCH-L ArchivesArchiver > QUEBEC-RESEARCH > 2012-05 > 1336943854
Subject: [Q-R] Self-described Satanist allegedly removed cemetery markers
Date: Sun, 13 May 2012 17:17:34 -0400 (EDT)
Self-described Satanist allegedly removed cemetery markers
(http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&geocode=&q=3652 W. Jump Off Joe Rd. in
Washington (48.1041, -117.7336)&ll=48.104116,-117.733626&z=11)
More than 70 tombstones and statuettes stolen from Eastern Washington
cemeteries have been recovered from the home of a self-described Satanist.
Now, with Memorial Day coming up, Stevens County authorities are asking
families to consider checking in on loved ones’ graves in cemeteries located
in Chewelah and Valley, Wash., to avoid the possibility of discovering empty
holes where gravestones once rested.
“We will be working to get a hold of the people (whose relatives or friends
are) in the Chewelah cemetery so they are not disappointed when they find
their loved ones’ gravestones are missing,” Stevens County Sheriff’s Capt.
Andy Harbolt said. “It’s a little eerie.”
Terry L. Verhaag, 48, faces three counts of unlawful removal of a grave
marker, based on the headstones he said came from cemeteries in Loon Lake,
Valley and Chewelah. Further investigation determined that most if not all the
markers came only from the latter two.
Verhaag told authorities he didn’t do anything wrong; he merely wanted to
bless the grave markers with holy water.
He’ll appear early this week for arraignment, Deputy Stevens County
Prosecutor Matt Enzler said.
The investigation began on May 1, when a police officer arrested Verhaag
for disorderly conduct outside a Safeway store in Chewelah. Witnesses had
overheard him saying he had “bodies and bones in bags.”
“Terry Verhaag also … advised that he was a Satan worshiper and at a later
point advised witnesses that he was Jesus Christ and a king,” according to
charging documents filed by Stevens County Sheriff’s Detective Iain
The case remains under investigation, but Harbolt said investigators have
found no evidence to support Verhaag’s claims that bodies had been
“When you unearth a bunch of headstones, that’s approaching as bad as you
can get,” Harbolt said. “But digging up grave sites? He didn’t get that
bizarre. But he was approaching it.”
Verhaag was brought in for questioning on May 3. Ashley, the detective,
started reading the names off gravestones found at Verhaag’s home, at 3652 W.
Jump Off Joe Road in Valley.
Verhaag “told us that he knew these people and that they were family
members,” Ashley wrote. “He then began to explain many other things to us
including his suspicions about human sacrifices, vampires, his finger being cut
off and regenerating, seeing the top half of the Statue of Liberty in Provo,
Utah, in 2008 and other matters that appeared to concern him.”
Verhaag further told the detectives that he intended to take the grave
markers home “and bless them with holy water,” Ashley wrote. Verhaag “also
advised us that he did not think that what he had done was illegal. He was
After detectives obtained search warrants for Verhaag’s home, they found
headstones in Verhaag’s pickup, in his yard and inside buildings around his
property. Some were set up in a “display” in a van parked on the property.
Said Harbolt, “In his mind, he was either cleansing them or purifying them.
Who knows what was going on in his mind.”
The prosecution will include a mental evaluation for Verhaag, who is
well-known to law enforcement after arrests for several minor crimes, Harbolt
The curator from the cemetery in Valley found a list identifying where most
of its grave markers should be, but Harbolt said he hasn’t received a
similar list from the Chewelah cemetery.
“A lot of the unnamed ones probably will never be able to be put back where
they belong,” Harbolt said. Various accessories such as vases and flags
will be difficult to return, he said.
Verhaag only used a shovel and his own strength to load the gravestones
into his truck and take them home. Harbolt said his back was still sore after
removing them from Verhaag’s property.
“I tell my people that we are doing God’s work,” he said. “We are trying
to get them back to everybody. It’s quite bizarre.”