PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - “You’re going to step in a lot of water in this ditch,” said Samuel Collier as he walked toward his son’s grave site at Jackson County Memorial Park in Pascagoula. “You have to kind of be careful. It’s so soft.”
Samuel Collier comes prepared when he visits. He has to wear boots to walk through the grounds, which is more like a swamp.
“This is my son’s, and it’s sunk down so far,” he said. “And I just wanted them to bring it up or I will pay someone to come out here, but they told me no. They wanted to do it, they were going to do it, but they haven’t done it yet.”
He comes about every two weeks to visit. To see his son’s grave in this condition makes him upset.
“Every day. I’m emotional now. It’s horrible. This place is horrible," Collier said.
The cemetery has been the subject of angry criticisms about the lack of maintenance for years, but nothing seems to have been done to solve the problem.
WLOX first came out to the cemetery a year ago after a complaint that a plot had not been completely filled in a month after burial. It was not very good then, and it’s not very good now. Several plots have been incomplete for two months or more.
Family members have taken to social media to speak with a united voice in hopes of getting the owners, Tutor Funeral Home, to do something about the mess.
“Now, my family starts right here,” said Donna Powers as she walked gingerly through the mushy grass, “but there’s a person buried here that you can’t even see who it is.”
Powers is originally from Pascagoula but now lives in Grand Bay.
One day, she will be buried here next to her husband.
“I have no choice,” she said. “I have to be right here," Powers said.
Her greatest fear?
“That it would completely roll over or sink," she said.
The mess is not just in the cemetery proper.
At the corner of the property sits a dumping ground of old head stones, vaults and debris piles that look more like a scene from a horror movie, and it’s all in plain sight of neighbors.
Collier said he wants to move his son to another cemetery.
“It’s not about the money to me. It’s about the dignity that should be,” he said through tears. “And these people. These people should care more, and they don’t.”