Family sues cemetery after millionaire’s ashes were stolen from mausoleum
According to Market Watch,
The family of technology pioneer and Commerce One founder, Thomas Gonzales II, says pure negligence allowed thieves to plunder the family’s mausoleum at the Oakmont Memorial Park Cemetery in Lafayette, Calif., in January of 2011 and steal an urn containing Gonzales’ remains.
The family of the late entrepreneur spent $3.2 million to build the marble mausoleum to honor their 35-year-old son. The mausoleum “bears the family’s name and features two spiral staircases leading up to a platform with ‘probably the best view of all of Contra Costa County.‘”
The family seeks a minimum of $3.2 million claiming that the mausoleum is now worthless, that the cemetery negligently secured the mausoleum and failed to notify them of a previous break-in attempt. From the news reports, it sounds like the family has a good case.
I wonder though whether the family will seek to hold the designer of the mausoleum liable. One would think that if you are paying $3.2 million for a mausoleum, you would want some security features built in.
Hindsight is 20/20, but the mausoleum was a pretty obvious target for thieves. Next time, I would suggest putting the ashes in the mortar for the structure or at least not putting them in a removable expensive urn. If you and your family are spending this much on a structure that will last several lifetimes, then you should plan on someone breaking into your family’s crypt. So, you need to plan accordingly.