Action Report: Lost grave at St. Joseph Cemetery

DIAMONDHEAD, MS (WLOX) - St. Joseph Cemetery, better known as Rotten Bayou Cemetery to local residents in Diamondhead, is 300 years old. There's a pauper section for residents who can't afford to bury their loved ones. Unfortunately, after Hurricane Katrina blew through the area, markings on those graves were destroyed.

The daughter of a man buried in St. Joseph Cemetery is trying to locate the exact gravesite of her dad. Amy Skinner and her uncle, Daniel Marie, have been trying for years to locate where Carbert Marie is buried. He died on September 7, 1998.

"My dad is here somewhere in this area and I know that," Skinner said.

"At the time of him passing away, he had no insurance, so the county buried him here," stated Daniel Marie.

Marie said he remembers on the day his brother was buried he leaned up against this tree, which at the time was much smaller. About four years ago, Skinner said she met with someone associated with the cemetery.

"I wanted to put a headstone and flowers on my dad's grave. Well, he tells my that my dad is not here, so I got upset and said, 'What? You think my dad got up and walked out of here?' And the man said, 'I tell you there is no grave here.' So I called you and want to get some stuff done about my dad being buried here."

I made a couple of phone calls and got in touch with Breezy Bice. She recently took over as caretaker for St. Joseph Cemetery. She contacted Dorty Necaise, who is a Cemetery Committee Member, who came out to talk with me.

Necaise said in 1998 the body of an unidentified women was given the name of Jane Doe and buried in St. Joseph Cemetery near the location where Skinner believes her dad was buried.

In December 2013, the grave of Jane Doe was exhumed in an attempt to identify her body. Officials believed Jane Doe was a missing women from Louisiana. It wasn't.

Necaise told Skinner, "We'll go to the coroner, find out if the remains they exhumed were male, and that's one step closer to knowing if this is where your father was."

I met with coroner Jim Faulk and he confirmed that the skeletal remains buried in the Jane Doe grave belonged to a man. He also said there are three other graves located right above that of the Jane Doe marker. Faulk said either one of those graves could be that of Carbert Marie.

The coroner and the cemetery caretaker said, unfortunately, there are no records of the exact locations where people were buried back then.

"It's very frustrating because I was a daddy's girl, and I lost my mom and sister in a house fire when I was 13, and I know where they're buried. And now y'all telling me my dad is not here. I need to find out where my daddy is buried at," stated Skinner.

The St. Joseph Cemetery caretaker said she will continue to search the records and pictures that she now has in an attempt to locate the grave of Carbert Marie.

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