Cemetery’s Mistakes Make Family Miserable

As reported in the Press-Democrat, Enrique Alvarez, 21, died on Dec. 22 when he fell out of a pickup truck near Santa Rosa, California.  Mr. Alvarez was buried on December 29, at Shiloh Cemetery in Windsor, California.   A week after the funeral, a representitive of the cemetery contacted the family and informed them that their son was not buried in the correct plot.  On Monday, Mr. Alvarez’ mother visited the cemetery and saw that her son’s grave was open and being dug up.   Needless to say, Ms. Alvarez was quite upset to witness this.  Ms. Alvarez claims she never gave permission and never received notice that the cemetery was digging up her son’s grave.

The attorney for the cemetery claims he made numerous attempts to contact the Alvarez family to get permission to move the body, but his messages were not returned.  Their attorney claims that under California law notice and permission are not required prior to the opening of a grave and movement of a casket.  This might be true, but the family is quite upset over the situation and has retained their own attorney.

Stories like this make you never want to trust anyone or take anything for granted.  Consumers can contact the Funeral Consumers Alliance for information on what to look for in a funeral home and or cemetery.  Or, if you want to take matters into your own hands and do-it-yourself, you can check out Crossings.net.  Crossings bills itself as, “a green burial and home funeral resource center.”

Photo Courtesy of danmachold.


~ by siouxsielaw on February 3, 2011.

3 Responses to “Cemetery’s Mistakes Make Family Miserable”

  1. In many states, it isn’t required to notify before correcting a mistake made in a cemetery. How about this for another reference? So let’s say it isn’t required by law, but how about required by human decency and respect for the grieving family? Or how about simple courtesy toward those who have lost a loved one so young. There are times that the law doesn’t know how to address certain things like this, law can be impersonal. I have never allowed a disinterment in a cemetery I’ve run without notification of the family, and this story tells exactly why. Imagine being the family and arriving to place flowers on their loved ones grave, only to discovere they’re digging your loved one up. There is absolutely nothing good that can come of such a reckless act.

    Now, for the other side to be fair. IF it is true the attorney did in fact make several attempts to contact the family and the family chose to ignore those contacts, different story. But how about going the extra mile and have the cemetery post a small sign at the grave, notifying visitors they need to contact the cemetery office immediately? All these instances are avoidable, and nobody will ever convince me differently. It may take a little more energy, or creativity, but communications could have been accomplished with a little more effort. http://www.cemops.com

  2. This stuff seems to happen all the time. I think people give funeral homes and graveyards way too much credit.

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