Family Concerned About Water In Grave At SCI Cemetery

October 15, 2009
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Kevin Larsen said he was so shocked to see so much water in a grave near his mother’s that he grabbed his video camera and started recording.

The water is almost two feet deep in a grave at the Riverside Memorial Park Cemetery on Normandy Boulevard.

“Let’s call Channel 4 at this point,” Larsen said on his home video.

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That’s exactly what the Larsens did. They said they’re concerned about the water in the grave because it’s just a few feet from where their mother is buried. It makes them question the condition of hers.

“Thinking about my mother laying in two feet of water, ya know. That’s my mother,” Larsen said.

“It’s devastating to me, my brother, my family, my father,” said Diane Roberts, Larsen’s sister, as tears came to her eyes.

The Larsens buried their mother, Elsie, a little more than a year ago.

She had been sick for a while, and the family said she picked out her own plot.

She wanted to be in a certain section of the cemetery, and the family said they were told where she was buried was a great section to be in.

“They kept talking about how this area had been built and designed and the hill and the drains, the drain tiles and the pump system,” Larsen said.

The pump system, the Larsens said, sold them.

They wanted to make sure their mother’s grave remained dry. They claim they even paid $2,000 more for it.

But they soon started to have doubts.

“After burying our mother, people started telling us these pumps haven’t worked in years. They’ve been broken,” Larsen said.

“I went in and questioned the office staff,” Roberts said. “They told me they were aware of it. It was on their budget list.”

But when the Larsens got a glimpse of the grave Tuesday, it made them sick.

Channel 4’s Jennifer Bauer went back to the cemetery with them to see it for herself.

The water measured to be 22 inches — almost two feet — deep. Not only that, it’s dirty and there’s stuff floating in it.

Early Wednesday morning, Larsen grabbed his home video camera again.

He found workers using a portable pump to get the water out of the grave. They were setting up for a funeral.

Larsen said when he sees the water, he can’t help but think about his mother.

“If that one’s full, the rest of them have to be full,” he said.

Not necessarily, according to Robin Wright, the general manager of Riverside Memorial Park Cemetery.

Wright said the pumps are put in the ground to keep the water out and to keep the graves dry. She said they do fail occasionally.

The cemetery’s corporate office, located in Houston, Texas, said the pump in that area of the cemetery is broken. They claim it hasn’t been broken long, but said it will be fixed, maybe as soon as Thursday.

The Larsens said that’s what they’ve wanted all along.

Fixing the pump will give them peace of mind so it doesn’t happen to any of the other graves.

“We grew up on the Westside of town. We know hundreds of people buried in that cemetery,” Larsen said. “So it’s not just our family, it’s our friends.”

Click Here For Video

Source: Jacksonville News 4

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