Billy the Kid's tombstone was vandalized June 16 by unknown criminals, according to reports. The infamous gunslinger, well known across the Wild West, was buried in Fort Sumner, New Mexico.
Billy the Kid's tombstone was vandalized after standing for over 80 years undisturbed, but someone apparently had a grudge against the vandal also known as William Henry McCarty. Other Old Fort Sumner cemetery grave markers were also bothered according to Don Sweet, owner of the Billy the Kid Museum.
"They turned the headstone over and it broke some of the concrete," Sweet told the Huffington Post. "The cemetery has never been bothered before."
The criminal activity- possibly done by "young people" according to Sweet- didn't end there. The suspects also took three antique rifles and a shotgun after breaking into the museum, according to KOB-TV. There could have been more than one vandal, as Billy the Kid's tombstone weighed over 2,000 lbs. and was still destroyed.
The legend of Billy the Kid is one well known in New Mexico. Born in 1859, William Henry McCarty, Jr. came to notoriety and gained his moniker after allegedly killing 21 men. Although it is now known that he killed between four and nine people, his participation in the Irish-English land war of New Mexico boosted his reputation to new heights.
Billy the Kid's mother died of tuberculosis at 15, and from then on he was raised by Mexican-American ranchers. Kid befriended and defended the same group of men in the Lincoln County War, even falling in love with one of their daughters.
That love would be his undoing, however, as he refused to leave the woman to escape to Mexico. Pat Garrett shot and killed Billy the Kid when the outlaw was 21 years old.
Currently, De Baca county police are searching for leads as to the vandals of Billy the Kid's grave and the robbery of the museum, but clues are scarce.
"Over 20,000 people a year visit the grave, so we don't want it to be tore up or anything," Sweet said.
Authorities are offering a reward of $1,000 for information leading to the arrest of the perpetrators. Those with such information can call (575) 355-9999.