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Sheriff: Mile Branch Settlement vandals arrested

On Saturday, the Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of vandalism of several buildings located inside the Mile Branch Settlement on the Washington Parish fairgrounds, according to WPSO Chief Deputy Mike Haley.

“Several cabins were forcibly entered by someone kicking in the doors, items in some cabins were broken, some windows were broken and dry chemical fire extinguishers had been discharged inside and outside the buildings,” Haley said.

That same date, after being contacted by the WPSO, parents brought their sons to the office and reported their involvement in the vandalism, Haley said.

“Three of the young men confessed to the crimes while the fourth made no statement on the advice of his attorney,” he said. “All four young men were arrested and released to the custody of their parents, who were issued juvenile arrest custodial agreements.”

Haley said that the four suspects are scheduled to appear before a juvenile court judge. He noted that names will not be released because they are juveniles.

“This is heartbreaking,” Washington Parish Sheriff Randy Seal said. “The cabins and outbuildings represent the heart and soul of our Washington Parish ancestors. Many years ago, parish pioneers cleared land, cut trees and built houses, barns and other structures for their families. It is so wonderful that these buildings and items have been preserved in one location for many generations of visitors to visit and learn valuable history lessons.

“It is so sad that these young men vandalized these historical structures, and in so doing created a legal dilemma for themselves and their families. I hope not only that these structures can be repaired, but also that these young men will have learned a life lesson of the consequences of irresponsible behavior.

“I appreciate the actions of the parents who brought in their sons to take responsibility for their actions.”