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Family members upset over conditions at Jefferson County cemetery

Published: Oct. 23, 2021 at 9:13 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 23, 2021 at 9:34 PM CDT
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JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ala. (WBRC) - Family members with loved ones buried at a Jefferson County cemetery are pleading for action. After years of complaints, they say the same problems continue to plague Sunrise Memorial Gardens near Pinson.

“It is absolute teetotal anger,” said David Reagan, whose parents are buried at the cemetery.

We first talked to family members in 2018. Three years later, they say they’re seeing the same problems.

“There are giant holes. There are big piles of dirt. My friend here, her parent’s headstone was buried under a mound of dirt until this week,” said Suzanne Headley, who has led an effort to improve conditions at Sunrise Memorial Gardens.

“We have cracked monuments. We have veterans that are buried here, their monuments, their plaques are being destroyed,” explained Reagan.

He says his parent’s graves are in good condition because of their location, but he says other families are not as lucky.

“There’s people’s graves they can’t even find their headstones,” continued Reagan. “There’s water washouts. There’s concrete and everything else that’s broke off here and there.”

Headley says her parent’s tombstone has been cracked for years.

“I will never replace my parent’s headstone as long as he’s in charge of the cemetery,” said Headley.

Headley says despite several attempts, the owner has not met with her. She says families have gone as far as writing Alabama’s Attorney General, and they are frustrated over the lack of action.

“If it comes up to where we can take it over, we will. I can guarantee you we will all get together and take over this cemetery, and it will be properly maintained,” explained Headley.

WBRC spoke with the owner of the cemetery, Cedric McMillan. In a short statement, McMillan said the cemetery is three acres. He says there are two burials a month, and he questioned what this is about.

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