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Families seeking answers after flowers, memorabilia taken off loved ones' graves

Families seeking answers after flowers, memorabilia taken off loved ones' graves (KTUL)

MANNFORD, Okla. (KTUL) -- A pile of memorabilia is growing at the Oak Hill Cemetery after people said one of the staff members was told to take everything off the graves and put them on a burn pile.

Families said they want answers from the cemetery’s board.

“It’s been the last five years that I’ve had to deal with people messing with stuff on his site,” Michelle Davis said.

She said placing flowers on her father’s grave is one way she honors him.

“It’s Memorial Day,” Davis said. “I do it for Memorial Day. I do it for Christmas and I do it for his birthday and Father’s Day.”

The current spray on his site isn’t the original one she put there.

“I was here Wednesday to check on my dad’s site and add some flowers, and the spray that I bought was completely removed,” said Davis.

She said a lawn crew was mowing the area one day and she asked them where the items were that she'd put on her father's grave. Then came up to them and told her what had happened.

“She said we hired a new lady and told her to remove everything, but if you want to go searching for it there’s a burn pile in the back you can find it,” Davis said.

A ceramic angel from the front of her father's grave is now gone. A shepherd’s hook was also missing, but has since been replaced.

“Nothing on his site should be touched,” Davis said. “Nothing is on the ground, nothing is going to be weedeated over or mowed over. I take care of the site myself, I pull the weeds, I clean it. I do everything so it doesn’t need to be touched.”

Her fiancé, James McCrackin, only found an anchor trinket left on his son’s grave.

“This pile has grown all week long,” he said. “Some of this stuff was put out just a day or two before it hit this pile.”

Richard Dye has had some problems of his own.

“I came here two weeks ago and my grandpa’s marker was against the tree,” he said. “Then I noticed there were different headstones on his plot that my grandpa and my grandma owned. His cross has been there for 17 years and then all of a sudden, it’s gone, it’s moved. It isn’t right.”

Dye said he has also had issues with tall grass, and so he called the board.

“He said the grass can be as tall as it wants because they’re dead, they don’t know that it is that high,” said Dye. “I just don’t understand how you can own a cemetery and not care about the people buried there.”

Similar words Davis said she can’t believe she heard by a board member at a meeting.

“One lady stood up and said, 'What does it matter, they’re dead, they’re not going to know anyway,'” said Davis.

As they sift through the burn pile, they want answers.

“Everyone out here that has a loved one deserves a public apology,” said McCrackin. “The right thing needs to be done and every single board member needs to resign as of today.”

The president of the board said he has no comment to make about the incident.

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