After Halloween decorations that included fake tombstones with names like “Joe Junkie” and “Mary Meth” were found at the annual Cops for Kids Haunted House in Woodford County this week, the Versailles Police Department issued an apology on Friday.
The haunted house is put together by volunteers from multiple public safety agencies and the community and it is unclear who specifically made the tombstones, police Lt. Michael Fortney said. But he said they should have been flagged as inappropriate.
“It was an oversight,” Fortney said. “We didn’t look at them as closely as should have.”
The haunted house, which raises money for Christmas gifts for children in need, opened Oct. 20 and is scheduled to run through Oct. 28. A social media post early Friday brought the decorations in question to the attention of the department, Fortney said.
Martha Craig Kragel was among those who raised concerns about the decorations and posted pictures of them on Facebook.
“What if ‘Johnny Junkie’ was your daddy?” Kragel said in her post. “What if ‘Mary Meth’ was your mommy? What if ‘Carrie crack’ was your sister? What if ‘Next’ was your loved one?? This right here is part of the problem!”
Kragel’s daughter died of an overdose in 2013.
“The decorations were like a kick in my gut,” Kragel said. “My Rachel was more than her addiction. It didn’t define her.”
Kragel said she is currently raising five of her daughter’s six children.
“We apologize to those who have lost loved ones to drug addiction, and we continue to be sorry for your loss,” the department said in a Facebook post. “One of our Department’s main missions is to root out this problem so that fewer families suffer through this sad and most painful experience.”