Eureka Springs police arrest Springdale man for vandalizing veterans memorial

Thursday, September 30, 2021
The World War veterans memorial statue, better known as the Doughboy Statue, was vandalized Thursday, Sept. 23.

A Springdale man was arrested Friday after reportedly confessing to vandalizing the World War veterans memorial statue in Eureka Springs’ Basin Spring Park.

Eureka Springs police chief Brian Young reported that Dustin Doke was arrested Sept. 24 after video surveillance footage proved he hit the face of the statue, resulting in damage to the nose, forehead and top part of the hat. Young said Doke admitted to the vandalism after he was brought in for questioning. The vandalism occurred around 2:30 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 23, Young said.

Interim parks director Scott Miskiel said he met the police in the park on Thursday, discovering the vandalism at 10 a.m. that morning. Miskiel said he was disturbed that someone would damage a statue dedicated to veterans.

Dustin Doke

“I’m a veteran. My daughter’s in the Army,” Miskiel said. “These people … even if they don’t agree with what our governments do, they shouldn’t be desecrating what’s there to honor citizens that gave their lives.”

Citizen Laci Moffitt, one of the first people to notice the damage, said she couldn’t believe someone would vandalize the statue.

“I am really upset about this,” Moffitt said. “It’s a memorial to veterans, and the face and the hat have been knocked off.”

The Eureka Springs Parks and Recreation Commission and the Eureka Springs Preservation Society spent at least $10,000 to restore the statue in 2017.

Preservation society member Dee Bright said the person who oversaw the restoration has since died, and the marble needed to repair the statue is even more rare today than it was four years ago.

“It’s just heartbreaking … all that money and all that time and all that effort,” Bright said. “I just can’t believe it. We had to wait so long to make the restoration happen.”

Bright said it takes a long time to raise thousands of dollars in a small town — the preservation society matched a $5,000 grant for the initial restoration, which was split into smaller projects. The parks commission helped fund parts of the restoration, Bright said, making it a true team effort.

“There’s a lot of money put in there,” Bright said.

Young thanked Assistant Chief Brian Jones and Officer Michael Boseman for working so quickly to bring Doke into custody. Mayor Butch Berry agreed, saying the officers “did a good job getting the person” who vandalized the statue. Doke was booked on defacing objects of public respect, Young said, a Class C felony charge.

“The officers worked together so amazingly and got it taken care of,” Young said. “[Boseman] took the initial report. He was running down there checking on cameras, and [Jones] got the video working up here. It had recorded everything. [Jones] reviewed it and got it together.”

Miskiel said a local business offered a $1,000 reward on Sept. 23 for information leading to the arrest of the individual who vandalized the statue. The reward ended up being unnecessary, Miskiel said, but it’s a great indication of community spirit. As for the Doughboy statue, Miskiel said, the future is uncertain.

“I got the pieces in my office,” Miskiel said. “We’re hoping we will be able to repair but we just don’t know at this point.”

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  • Suspect said that soon Jesus Christ would take over this land and anyone worshipping false idols would be in grave danger. Doak said he used a wooden cross to damage the statue

    -- Posted by OzarkHills on Thu, Sep 30, 2021, at 8:39 AM
  • Well, he is partly correct, but isn't it obvious he suffers from a mental disorder? But those who know little or nothing about Christianity or Bible prophecy will mistakenly denigrate the act based on his false belief that the statue was a "false idol". Jesus will return, but not as this man claims. For example, all who worship idols, false or otherwise, are doomed. Pray for this man.

    -- Posted by rockpilefarmer on Thu, Sep 30, 2021, at 9:29 AM
  • This is the guy who lives behind the basin park hotel, takes coins from the water fountain in the park and tells everyone it’s free money and takes a bathe with a water hose behind planer hill trolley depot. He’s been able to do his thing until he pushed the limit. There is a lot more that goes on in the park than most people know about.

    -- Posted by Saints4me on Thu, Sep 30, 2021, at 9:56 PM
  • Christians are getting it wrong. Now one with a mental disorder to boot is in big trouble. Religion - there's just too much made up rhetoric. "Jesus was no saint. The story we have about him is largely Jesus defying the legitimacy and authority of the dominant religious system and its ecclesiastical hierarchy. His noncompliance and anarchist spirit was a threat to the Roman government. Jesus was not a figure of religion. Jesus was an iconoclast. To the Romans, he was a radical – a religious fanatic who would no doubt try to overturn their social order if allowed to gain too many followers.

    Jesus was not crucified for his beliefs but for his actions. People often envision Jesus as someone tiptoeing around in a flowing robe, speaking softly, patting children on the head and carrying a baby lamb in his arms. But the real Jesus of history was a lightning rod. He got angry. He was the greatest debunker of religious hierarchies and traditions this world has ever seen. The religious establishment hurriedly condemned him to death for blasphemy, while the secular powers executed him for sedition.

    It's unfortunate that Christianity was pinned on Jesus. This wasn't his fault. Jesus did not die to save people from God, rescue us from ourselves, or snatch sinners from the flames of hell. Jesus is not a ticket-puncher to heaven, he's a jail-breaker for people locked up in religion.

    Jesus did not start the Christian religion. Organized Christianity has probably done more to retard the ideals that were its founder’s than any other agency in the world. Should Jesus reappear, he would be a most dangerous threat to the institution of the Church originally established in his name. What are now called “essential doctrines” of the Christian religion, Jesus does not even mention.

    I consider the life, teachings, and wisdom of Jesus to be universally relevant, regardless of one's religious, spiritual, or philosophical point of view. Christianity does not hold unique and absolute claim to Jesus. Just because you are a Christian doesn't mean you truly get Jesus. In fact, it may be the reason why you don't."

    Jim Palmer, Inner Anarchy

    -- Posted by jpmorganfreeman on Fri, Oct 1, 2021, at 11:29 AM
  • This is my husband’s older brother. He suffers from severe and debilitating schizophrenia. He is legally disabled and does not understand what he has done. Please understand that he is not lashing out against veterans. We didn’t even know where he was for the last several years. We have spent years trying to help him, and some of the things people are saying about him are breaking our hearts. He needs help, not persecution.

    -- Posted by Somebody22 on Fri, Oct 8, 2021, at 7:46 PM
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