CROSSETT, Ark. (KTAL) — Samantha Sturgeon just buried her great grandmother over the weekend. Her beloved lived to see 102 years. She lay now at the Pinewood Memorial Cemetery on Highway 52.
Days after the funeral, Sturgeon decided to visit her great grandmother. The flowers and dirt were still fresh but it was more than just her great grandmother’s gravesite that caught her eye.
“I got to looking around and saw where several headstones were completely covered by grass and dirt,” Sturgeon said.
The photos show pictures Sturgeon took of headstones sunk into the ground and covered with dirt and debris. Many of the names and information on the stones can’t even be seen.
She took her concerns to Facebook and learned she wasn’t the only one with a problem.
“I started getting a number of inboxes, people commenting saying that this has been an ongoing issue for them for years and that they have reached out to Jones,” Sturgeon said. “I, in fact, reached out to Jones.”
Jones Funeral Home in Crossett owns the Pinewood Memorial Cemetery. They have been serving the Crossett and surrounding communities since 1927.
Sturgeon said she called to complain about the hidden stones and overall maintenance of the property. A representative told her it was a rain issue.
“She said we had had a very rainy season,” Sturgeon recalled.
Sturgeon agreed there has been a substantial amount of rain but that’s no excuse to how the headstones are being kept. She believes it’s neglect.
“The headstones being completely covered by grass and dirt and the vases being broke off of the headstones, that’s not a rain issue,” she said. “I understand that sometimes you can’t mow because of the rain but these are people’s loved ones and they shouldn’t come out here and not be able to see their headstones.”
Families trust the funeral home to take care of their loved ones no matter how long they’ve been in the grave. Sturgeon strongly believes it’s all about respect.
“Regardless of whether these people who have the covered headstones have been gone 50 years or 5 days the respect should still be the same,” Sturgeon said. “They should still be taken care of.”
The funeral home has one worker that is tasked with the responsibilities of up keeping the cemetery grounds. Sturgeon suggested that they hire more hands.
“I just think that Jones needs to have somebody where their job title is just coming out here and maintaining the cemetery,” she said. “Make it look presentable, like you care.”
Sturgeon doesn’t plan on moving her loved ones, she just wants the funeral home to take action. We reached out to the cemetery manager but he wasn’t available for comment.
This is still a developing story.