Woolmarket woman worried about mysterious sink holes in backyard

WOOLMARKET, MS (WLOX) - A Woolmarket woman is worried that parts of her property may be caving-in. Over the past year, sink holes have been popping up in her back yard. The latest one appeared over the weekend. The culprit may be found deep in the ground.

"My son called me and said, 'Mom, we got another hole coming up in the yard,'" said Valerie Caylor.

Caylor has to be very careful where she steps. On Saturday, she discovered a hole on her property at the end of Road 248. The hole was at least three inches wide and six feet deep.

"It's kind of scary to think it's that deep that grand babies could fall into something like that," said Caylor.

It was the fifth hole she has found in her yard since last year. The first one appeared behind a storage shed. It started off small, then the soil around it suddenly collapsed.

"You can see where the concrete has buckled and cracked. This was all level at one time," said Caylor as she pointed to the ground.

When asked if it makes her nervous, she replied, "Extremely, with grand babies out here. I mean, I thought the whole ground was going to cave in."

Last summer, she literally felt the earth move under her feet while trimming her rose bushes.

"I was standing here and all of a sudden, I went straight down. I wasn't touching bottom. It was just a hole opened up underneath me," she explained.

Caylor said she called at least 20-people about the problem, including city and county officials.

"One gentleman said it might be a river channel, an old channel that's trying to open back up. That scared me to death," said Caylor.

Her property backs up to the Biloxi River and she said it used to be sand bar. Caylor felt somewhat relieved when a field technician with the Natural Resource Conservation Service inspected the sink holes Tuesday. Rotting roots deep underground may be to blame for one of the holes.

"He said that it's a deteriorated pine root, and after about 40-50 years, they'll deteriorate and the ground around it will sink in," said Caylor.

The cause of the rest of the holes remains a mystery.

"It's sad. I love this place. I was out here 12 years," said Caylor. "It's frightening to think that everything's sinking. Fill this in, lift it back up as much as we can, or we can take off that end of the building and hope the rest of it doesn't sink."

Caylor's son and his family live on the property now.

"I'm scared that it's sinking and what am I leaving to my kids you know?" she asked. "It's really getting bad lately and you can see the ground has completely caved in. I don't know what we're going to do."

Caylor said the ground around another hole probably sank because the property sits on an old burn pile. She plans to contact sink hole specialists in Florida, hoping to get some answers.

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