50ºF

Families outraged by damaged graves

Cemetery officials have responded to allegations of neglect

ALLEGHANY COUNTY, Va. – Families in Alleghany County are demanding action after they say their loved ones' gravesites were damaged and neglected at Alleghany Memorial Park.

Tereva Blake lost her father three months ago. Sunday would have been his birthday. For the first time since his death, she got up the courage to visit his grave.

"It's been kind of hard, not just for me, but for my siblings, too, " Blake said. "I went up to the grave to put some flowers on the grave, but then I couldn't find him. There was just posts. There was nothing filled out on the posts saying that this was his area and that kind of upset me."

That's when she noticed tire marks, muddy graves and damaged tombstones.

"To see how disrespected everybody else's graves were, it was just really hurtful. it was shameful," Blake said.

Joshua Kidd and his wife have family buried there.. 

"It's very disheartening," Kidd said. "You can talk to them until you're blue in the face, but it doesn't seem to do any good at all."

A few years ago, his grandmother-in-law's tombstone was damaged.

"They actually ran over it with a lawnmower and actually chipped off the whole front of the headstone," Kidd said.

In response to the recent damage, cemetery officials released a statement to 10 News:

"Allegheny Memorial Park's mission is to help families memorialize every life with dignity, including providing and maintaining a tranquil and beautiful place for memorialization. In this instance, we have fallen short of our standards. The matter is being addressed, and we want to reassure our families and the local community that we are committed to serving them and their loved ones."

Kidd says an apology isn't enough. He plans on selling his family's burial plots. 

"There should be some type of dignity. There should be some type of respect," Kidd said.

He and Blake say something needs to change long-term, so their painful loss isn't felt even more.

"It shouldn't be like that. We've paid lots of money to have a family member buried up there. It should be better taken care of," Blake said.


About the Author: