PASCAGOULA, Miss. (WLOX) - A tarp rustled in the wind as it laid alongside the vault containing the casket of Reuben Borden and Cassandra Smith’s father.
For months, the siblings have been planning to move their father to a new cemetery because of the poor conditions at Jackson County Memorial Park. Cassandra says without notice, her father was exhumed and left behind the mausoleum.
“We was waiting on them to call us when they was going to put him on the books to be moved. They didn’t reach out to us. Nobody called from Tudor. Nobody called to let us know that we was going to move him, so that we could even alert the vault company and let them know,” said Cassandra. “Now we have to sit here now with my dad sitting out here all night with no way of being moved until tomorrow morning.”
Cassandra says her whole family has tried to improve the poor conditions at the cemetery.
“It’s been so many times where my mom would come out here, and get on her hands and knees, and pull grass up from around the headstone because it’s just covering it,” said Cassandra. “It’s ridiculous. It’s disrespectful to the loved ones, for anybody, that has someone out here.”
Cassandra says she’s talked with the owner of Jackson County Memorial Park, Terry Tudor, trying to set a date and time for the exhumation to take place. She needed that information in order to arrange transportation to move her father to the new cemetery.
“We’re heartbroken. We’re heartbroken and other people that’s out here, that has came out to support us, they’re heartbroken. Because when you see your loved ones being thrown back here like trash, like it’s just nothing to them, it breaks everybody’s heart.”
So Reuben is left with no other choice but to cover the vault with a tarp to protect his father through the night.
“My dad’s a veteran. He served his county and now we got him sitting out back like trash,” said Reuben. “This is not how we should treat anybody.”
WLOX reached out to the owner of Jackson County Memorial Park, but so far we have not received a response.