Cemetery mix-up means woes for dying Huntsville woman - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Cemetery mix-up means woes for dying Huntsville woman

Patsy Christopher had plans to be buried next to her brother, but that may not happen now.  (Source: WAFF) Patsy Christopher had plans to be buried next to her brother, but that may not happen now. (Source: WAFF)

You can call this story a grave error but on whose part?

A Huntsville woman planned for the one thing many of us put off, and that's her final resting place. Now she's discovered the burial plots she thought she paid for are already occupied.

Pasty Christopher bought burial plots for her and her brother at Stateline Cemetery in Madison County years ago. Now her health is failing, so she's preparing for the worst. It's been getting harder for to breathe and her chronic kidney disease has reached stage four.

Christopher's receipts spell out her reservation for row nine lot five. Her brother Hershel has row eight lot five. They were expecting to be placed head to foot to each other with her brother in front.

Christopher wanted to make sure everything was in order with Ken Clark, one of the trustee's over the cemetery who manages the books.

"He said those lots have been sold, they never was mine," she said.

Not only were they sold, she said someone else is already in her spot.

"I was upset and scared and thinking I don't have a grave to be put in," Christopher said.

She said Clark then offered something she never expected: to dig up the body already there. She said she refused to "disturb the dead."

WAFF took that claim and her receipts to Clark and compared them to the cemetery ledger. Clark said he would never offer to exhume a body, especially when her lots are empty.

"Now this is row nine and this is the lot in our book that she has purchased, this one right here," said Ken Clark, a cemetery trustee. "And Mr. Hershel's lot it would lay here and it joins this lower corner. There is nobody on this lot."

However, they are not in the same row and not what Christopher believed she paid for.

We discovered that what's on the receipts and what's in the ledger are two different things. Hershel Christopher is adjacent to Patsy's lot and not in front.

"There's either been a mistake made in writing her a receipt for this lot or in recording in the book, but the other lots around these have sold that's why I'm offering to trade her these lots for two up there or I'll refund her money. I mean what else can you do," said Clark.

There isn't a date listed on the receipts or ledger, making it impossible to prove where this burial mix-up happened.

Christopher said at this point, she and her brother would rather stay where they are and just want new receipts written out that match the ledger and with the dates listed.

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