Woman on cemetery: “It’s sickening, it’s heartbreaking, it’s criminal”

Woman on cemetery: “It’s sickening, it’s heartbreaking, it’s criminal”

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Dozens of headstones can be found sinking into the ground inside St. Stephens Cemetery on Preston Street, in the Saint Joseph neighborhood.

"It's sickening," Susan Setters said. "It's heartbreaking. It's criminal."

Several headstones are covered in dirt and tracks from a backhoe can be seen weaved in between plots.

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"I tried talking to the groundskeeper," Jennifer Parks said. "She would always make excuses."

Jennifer Parks says the neglect has been going on for years. However, she believes things are at a tipping point.

Headstones have been moved and some are completely missing. On Sunday, families searched for the resting places of their loved ones all day and into the evening.

"I went to go and see about my parents and my mother's headstone is completely moved from where she was laid at," Robin Griffin said. "She's been here for many, many years."

Griffin was overcome with emotion at the cemetery. She believes the issues are the groundskeeper's fault.

"I don't see how anyone could do this kind of stuff," Griffin said.

The groundskeeper was nowhere to be found on Sunday.

"I can't tell you how many times I've knocked on that door she won't answer," Hubert Warnell said.

Warnell said he has been dealing with the groundskeeper for years. He said she mixed up his family's plots when burying his mother.

"They dug the wrong grave," Warnell said. "When they decided to dig the right grave they dug inside my dad's coffin in his concrete box."

Warnell is now trying to track down the groundskeeper about cracks in his brother's headstone. He's not the only waiting. Police don't plan to leave the cemetery until they find her either.

WAVE 3 News reached out to the groundskeeper several times and have yet to hear back. There's a board that meets on the last Monday of every month at the cemetery at 6 p.m. Anyone with grievances is encouraged to attend.

Kentucky's Attorney General Andy Beshear has released a statement regarding the damage to the cemetery.

"We are aware of this serious situation and are actively investigating consumer complaints. We are asking that all Kentuckians whose loved ones have been impacted to contact our office at 502-696-5341. Our relatives who have passed on should have their resting places treated with respect."

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