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Woman charged with defacing D.C. monuments appears to have 'mental health issues,' police say

Woman charged with defacing D.C. monuments appears to have 'mental health issues,' police say

The woman charged with defacing the Washington National Cathedral appeared in a Washington, D.C., court Tuesday, a day after she was arrested with a soda can of green paint inside the cathedral's Children's Chapel.

Jiamei Tian, a 58-year-old Chinese tourist, is accused of vandalizing an organ and woodwork in two separate chapels in the cathedral and charged with destroying private property. A judge ordered Tian held without bond pending a hearing later this week. She faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and a fine of $5,000 if convicted.

Tian appeared in court "in shackles and wearing a white jail jumpsuit," the Washington Post reported. She was accompanied by a Mandarin interpreter and a female marshal "who at one point pulled her backward when she became agitated while speaking."

According to prosecutors, Tian arrived in Washington late last week and was traveling on an expired visa. According to the Associated Press, she told officers she lived in Los Angeles and refused to cooperate with investigators, though "a language barrier complicated initial efforts to interview her."

Tian is a suspect in several other acts of vandalism.

On Friday, green paint was discovered splattered on the Lincoln Memorial and on a statue on the National Mall. A statue of Martin Luther in downtown Washington also was hit with green paint.

"What the motive is for the incidents, we don't really know," D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier told NewsChannel 8 on Tuesday. "I guess that will all start to unfold as we go through the courts."

Tian, Lanier added, appears to have "mental health issues."

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