Problems persist for DeKalb County cemetery - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Problems persist for DeKalb County cemetery

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By Stephen McLamb

RAINSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - A DeKalb County man is upset over the maintenance of a private cemetery in the Rainsville area.

The problems began last spring after the owner passed away.  That left many people who paid for complete burial agreements with only a plot of land.

Charles Jolley visited a relatives grave this week after the recent rains and became disgusted after finding mud all over the headstone.

160 people have now filed claims over the burial agreements and one Rainsville councilman is wondering if the solution is for the city to take over the cemetery.

Jolley has relatives buried in Mountain View Memory Gardens Cemetery just outside Rainsville. But when he found his relatives headstone covered in mud, that was enough.  

"I'd like to see somebody step forward and take responsibility to alleviate a lot of these problems because it's been ongoing since the spring," said Jolley. 

It was last spring when Janice Gilbert, who had prepaid arrangements for burial services, got a letter that the cemetery's owner had died.

The letter said there was no money left to fulfill the burial agreement which included headstones, burial, and a vault. 

"The only think I do have here is the plot to be buried by my husband. That's the only thing in this cemetery anybody has," said Gilbert.

Gilbert is one of 160 people who have filed claims against the estate of former owner Jeanette Mince who died in November of 2008.

Since then, a judge has ordered the state take over the cemetery.

Rainsville town councilman Fred Bobo feels maybe taking over the cemetery is a good idea and is consulting with Fort Payne who has a city cemetery.

Meanwhile, Gilbert recently spent more than $2,500 dollars for a headstone and granite marker for her loved one, something her two thousand dollar payment years ago was supposed to pay for. 

"We don't know if we'll get any money out of this. I hope so. Whether I get it doesn't matter, it's the people that can't afford to do this again." said Gilbert.

But legal problems appear they'll continue for some time.

The estate of the former owner is now in circuit court as is a lawsuit by the state insurance commissioner against the cemetery.

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