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Father of Suspect Charged for Defacing Pictographs

Father of Suspect Charged for Defacing Pictographs

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CASTLE DALE, Utah (AP) -- The father of a man accused of defacing a pictograph thought to be 2,000 to 4,000 years old also has been charged with the panel's vandalism.

The Emery County attorney's office had previously filed a felony charge of a violation of the antiquities protection law against Jeremy Shane Craig, 22, of Huntington.

The office this week added the same charge against his father, Dentist Lee Craig, whose last known address was in Pelzer, S.C. His whereabouts are now unknown, authorities said.

The younger Craig faces a preliminary hearing Oct. 19 on the charge stemming from the vandalism thought to have occurred July 19 on a panel in the Buckhorn Draw of the San Rafael Swell.

The message "I love you, Wendy," with picture symbols used for all but "Wendy," was chalked on the sandstone wall near the ancient paintings.

It is not the first time the prehistoric rock art was damaged.

In 1994, the panel was repaired through efforts of local citizens and private donations. Fencing, interpretive signs and other facilities were installed.

A report by Constance S. Silver, a conservation expert who worked to restore the panel both 10 years ago and this summer, noted that after authorities requested that the public not try to remove the vandalism, someone recently tried to take it off by washing off the chalk and covering that part of the panel with mud.

The attempt made things worse.

The surface of the rock previously was a rosy color, tinted by the fragile desert varnish that formed naturally on the sandstone centuries ago, Silver said.

The vandalism and subsequent "washing" and mud application totally destroyed the desert varnish. As a result, the panel has been irreparably damaged, she said.

More than two days of work was needed to treat the vandalism. On Aug. 7 and 8, the mud was removed and the raw surface of the rock was recolored with watercolors and pastels. Conservation and treatment costs amounted to $2,500.

This treatment will have a life span of no more than eight to 10 years, Silver said.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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