Coast family relieved after missing crypt finally found

Family talks about finding father's missing casket from Jackson County cemetery

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - A family is relieved to have found their loved one’s remains after the man’s casket went missing from a Pascagoula cemetery.

Rob and Ricky Hudson’s father, Robert Hudson, was buried at the Jackson County Memorial Park back in 2005.

"When daddy passed, it was a shock, it was sudden, it was totally unexpected,” said Ricky.

For more than 13 years, the man’s family has visited him at the cemetery, where his casket was interred in the park’s mausoleum. A few weeks ago, the family decided to move their loved one’s remains to a different cemetery.

"Because of the conditions of the cemetery, we as a family decided our father, in the mausoleum, we wanted to re-locate him to a different place,” said Ricky.

They gathered around the mausoleum for a quick ceremony before the body was moved but were left stunned and in disbelief when the crypt was opened and the casket was not there.

“When we opened his crypt, he wasn’t in there," Ricky continued. "We were kind of shocked. You assume to be where you laid him to rest 13 years ago and you find an empty crypt. We asked them to start opening up what we assumed to be vacant crypts and let’s see if we can find him.”

Over the last two weeks, nearly 120 crypts inside and outside the mausoleum were opened. Finally, the casket was located this week behind a slab of marble with no name on the plaque. The family were able to tell immediately that it was their father’s casket thanks to a tag they had placed on the casket with Robert Hudson’s name before it was interred.

Now, after what became an emotional and frustrating odyssey, the family’s late patriarch is at a new resting place at a different cemetery.

"It was very emotional discovering this and discussing it with mom because we knew we’d be re-living daddy’s passing,’ Ricky said.

Now that the process is over, Ricky and his brother Rob would like to see some legislation passed to make sure something like this never happens again to anyone.

“We really are not looking for anything out if it,” said Rob. “We just want to make people aware that hey, you might want to come down here and check.”

Jackson County Memorial Park has been the subject of angry criticisms about the lack of maintenance for years. For the last two years, families have reached out to WLOX about missing and unfinished grave sites,

Years ago, the cemetery fell into disrepair and was placed up for auction by the court.

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