BEAUFORT, NC (WITN) - A Morehead City teenager is accused of setting fire to a historic grave site in Beaufort.
Wesley Wainwright, 19, was charged today with felony desecration of a grave, indecent exposure, and trespassing.
Police say last Monday night, officers and the fire department were called to the town's "Old Burying Grounds" on Ann Street. They found the grave of the "Little Girl Buried in Rum Keg" was smoldering and still slightly ablaze.
Legend says in the 1700s, the girl was returning from a voyage to London when she died at sea. Her father had promised his wife that he would return her safely to Beaufort, so he bought a barrel of rum from the ship's captain, placed her body in it, and returned her to Beaufort for burial.
The grave is often decorated with stuffed animals, seashells, and flowers. Since the fire, people have replaced the burned items on the grave.
Authorities estimated about $3,500 in damage was done to the grave, and they expect they will able to have it fully restored.
Wainwright was booked into the Carteret County jail and given a $5,000 secured bond. He has a June 23rd court date.