Chesterfield couple frustrated by delay in construction of crypt

Published: Sep. 24, 2019 at 11:43 PM EDT
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CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WWBT) - A Chesterfield couple is frustrated by the delay in construction of a crypt they were told would be built by now.

Arnold and Patsy Gwinn say they paid nearly $16,000 for a crypt, and they were assured the mausoleum would be built by now.

It’s not, and it seems no one at South Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery can tell them when construction will begin.

NBC12 went to Southlawn Memorial Park in Prince George County, and also left voice messages and emailed a spokesperson for the owners, StoneMor Partners. Their Regional Vice President Harvey Bollinger did call back and said they are looking into the matter and will reach out to the Gwinns.

Patsy and Arnold’s pre-planned final resting place is supposed to be above ground and in a mausoleum.

“We are just disappointed,” Patsy said.

The Vietnam Army Veteran and his wife want to be entombed in a crypt on the inner wall of the building.

“We would be somewhere in this neighborhood. At eye level. They would unseal this and slide us in,” Patsy said.

Her husband Arnold talks about them being together when the time comes.

“She goes in feet first. When I pass, I go in head first so our heads will always be together,” Arnold said.

Patsy and Arnold say they don’t even know when construction will start for their eternal resting place. In addition, South Lawn is holding their money they say.

“When we asked for our money back they said we could only get about a third of it and that’s just not right," Patsy said.

“I know they lied to me. She told us we’re going to start in June after we signed this contract. It didn’t start in June,” Arnold said.

Cemetery staff soon showed up and handed On Your Side Investigator Diane Walker a phone with two people on the other end, who did not answer any questions, including the company’s general manager who said he could not guarantee that we would be able to speak with anyone. The general manager said we were on private property and asked NBC12 to leave the cemetery, which we did.

Meanwhile, the contract the Gwinns signed does not list a construction date. The tiny print on the back says South Lawn can use its own discretion and that two-thirds of entombment space must be sold before construction starts.

“If you’re not going to build this thing for five more years. Yes, we want our money back,” Arnold said.

"We’re supposed to get something for our money. We bought a final resting place and we don’t have it,” Patsy said.

Patsy says StoneMor Partners is telling them construction should start by the end of the year. The company says it’s waiting for the permit, application and hiring a contractor. They also apologized to the Gwinns for not communicating with them.

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