Grieving mother accused by cemetery of stealing figurines - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Grieving mother accused by cemetery of stealing figurines

Posted: Updated:
PHENIX CITY, AL (WTVM) -

A woman tells News Leader Nine a Phenix City cemetery is being insensitive to the feelings of grieving families.  

Melinda Nixon said she wanted to help return missing items to their rightful owners, and now she's being accused by the cemetery of stealing.

Nixon is a frequent visitor to Lakeview Memory Gardens on Highway 431.  She said sometimes she ties bows around her daughter's headstone, or places small items nearby, but groundskeepers are removing them.

It's part of the cemetery's strict policy that does not allow any loose items to be left near graves. 

"I can never buy my daughter a birthday present. I can never buy my daughter a Christmas present. The only thing I can do for her is buy her stuff and bring it here," said Nixon.

Nixon's daughter, Ashley Arrowsmith, was featured in a WTVM news report when she and a friend were killed in a car accident.

Arrowsmith's sister, Chelsea, said, "That's all we can do is leave her a little angel or a signed softball from the previous season. They take it up and act like it's nothing, even though it means the world to us, and maybe even to Ashley."

Families at the cemetery Friday said Lakeview's groundskeepers are taking loose items, and scattering them behind a fence. Nixon feared the items would be thrown out or lost, so she gathered everything together and advertised on Facebook that she would return the figurines and keepsakes to anyone who was looking for them.

According to Nixon, Lakeview personnel called to demand the return of the items to the space behind the fence at the rear of the property. 

A cemetery manager confirmed that Phenix City Police were called Thursday for what he described as a "misunderstanding" but Lakeview had no further comment.

Other families gathered at Lakeview Friday night said they think the cemetery is overreacting and their policy goes too far.

"This is where you come to visit your loved ones and I feel like you should be able to put whatever you want within reason," said Holly Southern.

"They said nothing can be on the ground. It can only be in the vase or attached to the marker," said Beverly Ann Helms.

Helms is one of a few people who claim that not even flowers approved by the policy are safe from being confiscated.

Maggie Sanford has family in both Lakeview in Phenix City and Parkhill in Columbus.

"At Parkhill, they never take anything down. When the foam gets messed up for the flowers, they replace it.   It's always nice out there, they keep it cut. If you put anything on the headstone, there's nothing taken down," said Sanford.

copyright 2014 WTVM. All rights reserved.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Two teens charged with Gulfport man's murder

    Two teens charged with Gulfport man's murder

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 3:00 PM EDT2014-07-29 19:00:30 GMT
    Two Gulfport teens are charged with murder after police say they shot Lamont Hayes in his home last week and left him to die.More >>
    Two Gulfport teens are charged with murder after police say they shot Lamont Hayes in his home last week and left him to die. Monday night, investigators tracked down Jalen Shaquille Williams, 19, and arrested him at his home. Rashad Rejohn Johnson, 17, was arrested Monday at the Harrison County Juvenile Detention Facility, where he was being held on an unrelated charge.More >>
  • SRHS to Close Two More Clinics

    SRHS to Close Two More Clinics

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 10:50 AM EDT2014-07-29 14:50:29 GMT
    Singing River Health System has announced the closure of two more primary care clinics as part of a realignment program. The Gautier and D'Iberville facilities will close August 29.
    More >>
    Singing River Health System has announced the closure of two more primary care clinics as part of a realignment program. According to SRHS officials, the Gautier and D'Iberville facilities will close August 29.More >>
  • Coroner: Gulfport murder victim was shot in the groin

    Coroner: Gulfport murder victim was shot in the groin

    Thursday, July 24 2014 6:54 AM EDT2014-07-24 10:54:09 GMT
    According to Harrison County Coroner Gary Hargrove, Lamont Hayes, 41, was shot in the groin area and bled to death just a few hours later Tuesday night.More >>
    An area of Gulfport still reeling from the brutal murder of a child last week was hit with another violent death Tuesday night. According to Harrison County Coroner Gary Hargrove, Lamont Hayes, 41, was shot in the groin area and bled to death just a few hours later.More >>
Powered by WorldNow

208 DeBuys Road
Biloxi, MS 39531
(228) 896-1313

FCC Public File
EEO Report
Closed Captioning

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WLOX. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.