’They had a duty to fulfill and they didn’t do that’: Family upset after cemetery mishap

Updated: Jun. 26, 2020 at 5:58 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - A family is upset after they went to the cemetery to bury a loved one only to find the wrong plot was dug up.

That’s what one family claims happened at Oakwood Cemetery in Richmond, and those who gathered had to wait nearly two hours for a new grave to be dug.

“I feel like my mother didn’t get what’s due to her which was a proper burial. Everyone else gets it so why didn’t she?” Natasha Middleton Tucker said.

It’s not how Natasha Middleton Tucker thought she would send off her mother, Rosalie Slater, who died unexpectedly and was set to be buried June 24.

“I said this isn’t right and the reason I knew it wasn’t right was because of the size of the headstone,” Tucker said.

Once the family left the church, they proceeded to Oakwood Cemetery in Richmond for the final farewell but something wasn’t right.

“This is section 95 and where they were was section 75,” Tucker described.

Natasha noticed the grave they bought and paid for was dug in the wrong section.

“What if I didn’t say something? What if I didn’t know the height restrictions? Then my mother would have been in someone else’s grave,” Tucker said.

The height restrictions are in reference to the headstone.

“These four ladies that are in front of you have ’The Teardrop’ and that is my mother’s stone,” Tucker described.

Taller headstones, like the one the family bought, aren’t allowed near the entrance of the cemetery.

“I said ‘excuse me, sir, this isn’t right’ and he said, ‘this is what they told me and this is how it’s going to go down,‘” Tucker said.

After back and forth along with dozens of mourners in their Sunday best, the family had to wait for a new grave to be dug.

“We were outside for over two hours standing and waiting for them to get things situated and dig a hole. Waiting for them to get the casket and put it in the vault. We had to stand out here and endure all of that,” Tucker said.

NBC12 took complaints to the Supervisor in the front office but they did not respond. When told the family wanted an apology and was standing nearby, the supervisor went inside and closed the door.

“They had a duty to fulfill and they didn’t do that. They were not compassionate about it at all,” Tucker said.

Oakwood is operated by the city.

Natasha said she simply wants compassion from those responsible for the mix-up.

“They are just digging holes and putting people in there,” Tucker said.

Richmond officials did respond by saying they want to apologize for what happened and an official said someone will reach out to the family to talk about refund options.

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