Petersburg woman seeking compensation for mother’s delayed burial

Updated: Sep. 17, 2020 at 11:47 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - For three and a half months, Natasha Middleton-Tucker says she has been waiting on information from the City of Richmond about refund options after the wrong plot was dug for her mother’s burial, but she says she has not received a single response because the city officials claim they haven’t received any of her complaints.

“I figured that three and half months was enough time to at least receive a response, letter, email, text, FedEx, something,” said Natasha. “No one wants to take accountability for their actions."

Back in June, Natasha says she and her family had to wait over two hours standing in the sun for Oakwood Cemetery staff to dig a new plot after she realized that the wrong plot was dug up for her mother’s funeral. She adds that the compensation she wants is for the time she says her family was never properly afforded during her mother’s burial.

“We lost time with family, which is very important, family and loved ones who came out of town to be here and make sure they were here for my mother’s funeral,” said Natasha. “I think my brother and I were both highly embarrassed to even say that our mother was buried when all of this happened.”

Since that time, Natasha says she’s reached out to the city on multiple occasions, but Natasha says that city officials say they were unaware of Natasha’s situation. When NBC12 reached out to the city for clarification, the city continued to say that they have no record of Natasha’s complaints.

“There is no record of a claim letter on file with the city attorney’s office. She made arrangements for her mother’s internment. Her mother’s gravestone exceeded the height restriction for the section she sought,” a city official said. “The plot location was moved to an area with which she was dissatisfied. The staff accommodated her by finding an area near the location she desired without the height restriction and she agreed. They dug the grave and the mourners had to wait for it to be completed.”

The city added that with no claim letter, they do not know the extent nor value of the damages she is seeking. We have no proof of loss or assertion of damages.

But Natasha says she reached out to the city, Oakwood Cemetery, and even Mayor Levar Stoney’s office, and has retained copies of each.

“I wrote eight letters, I mailed seven the regular way and I sent one certified, and to this day no one has reached out to me,” she said. “We’re looking to at least get compensated for nat all of our money, but some of our money.”

Hours after NBC12 reached out to the city, Natasha says she got another message from them Thursday afternoon saying that they want her to provide additional receipts for proof of the damages she’s complaining about in order to file a proper complaint.

“They sent another email back just recently after I spoke with you and they said, ‘can you get the receipts?’ So now I have to call all the credit cards and get my brother to get credit card statements and get copies,” said Natasha.

Though Natasha says her situation is far from resolved, she says the response is at least a step in the right direction.

“I’m not just doing it for my family... my siblings or my family members. I just feel like this is a story that needs to be heard because of this foolishness,” said Natasha. “I just feel like [it] really needs to stop because they need to get a hold and a grip on themselves in reference to what they’re doing in this cemetery, how they are treating customers, and putting loved ones where they belong.”

The city says the attorney’s office has been receiving and processing claims throughout the pandemic but says that even though they never got one from Natasha, they do apologize for the interruption during her mother’s funeral service.

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