MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Some Memphis residents are upset over what they consider the desecration of gravesites.
Visiting deceased loved ones is always emotional, so imagine yours run over repeatedly by giant machinery. That’s what one couple said is happening at Memphis Memory Gardens on Raleigh-LaGrange Road.
From cracked and broken grave markers to discarded and uprooted flowers, one Memphis couple told abc24.com that their parents and others are being disrespected.
“You can’t even tell who it is,” said Steve Dacus as he walked through Memphis Memory Gardens. “That’s a stone right there that took a direct hit. And this one is completely crushed in half.”
Steve and Mary Dacus are not happy with Memphis Memory Gardens, where Steve’s parents are buried. One of their main complaints is tractors driving over the top of grave markers.
“You can see the big gouges where they ran right through the middle of the cemetery.” Steve said.
Indeed, it was easy to see the tracks - and the results.
“They’ve literally bent the brass right in half,” Mary said.
But that’s not all, they say.
“Every time we come out there,” said Mary, “my mother and father-in-law’s flowers are missing.”
“We come out, put out more flowers; a couple days later they’re gone again,” Steve added.
According to both Steve and Mary the problems have been ongoing. Two years ago they watched another customer get upset.
“She was crying because she couldn’t find her mother’s grave,” said Mary.
The Dacuses tried to help but never found the grave, and they're not buying the cemetery’s explanation the woman didn’t know where her mom was buried.
“She knew exactly where her mother was buried,” Mary told abc24.com.
In a remote, wooded area the Dacuses discovered what appeared to be a fresh grave, but for gravestones.
“All along the back,” Steve said, “there are more of them broken up. They are just laying there. It looks like they just dug the hole to put the busted grave markers in.”
The Dacuses have talked with cemetery management about their concerns.
“They’re very uncooperative,” said Steve.
So, despite an estimated cost of $3,000-$4,000, Steve is thinking about moving his parents; he’s had enough.
“It’s enough that I want my family out of here,” Steve told abc24.com, “you shouldn’t have to visit your family looking like that.”
Abc24.com contacted Dignity Memorial Network, which operates 1600 cemeteries including Memphis Memory Gardens for comment, but as of late on December 31, 2012 they had not responded.