Man finds gravestones in Henrico County creek

Posted at 6:31 PM, Jun 15, 2012
and last updated 2012-06-15 18:31:44-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)- If you walk beyond the manicured lawn, neat rows of grave markers, behind a locked gate and down a quiet path Andrew Phinney discovered something disturbing while walking his dog at Forest Lawn Cemetery.

“I found all of these yesterday,” says Phinney standing over a discarded gravestone. “There is O. Frederick Ostegren here. There is John F. Moore over there.”

Decades old gravestones are sitting in a creek bordering a remote part of the cemetery in Henrico County off of Laburnum Avenue. Along with markers there is also piles of broken granite, marble, rusted pipes and empty bottles.

Phinney says, “It is a little bothersome if these shouldn’t be here.”

Andrew can only wonder why and how the stones ended up in this watery final resting place.

“It is kind of gross there is a bunch of litter. Smells bad,” Phinney says.

The markers sitting in the foul smelling creek date back decades. Some are nearly sixty years old, but others are much more recent like a stone for John F. Moore dated September 3rd 2000.

Dave Honaker Manager of forest lawn says the markers in the creek were most likely damaged or replaced with new ones years ago. David says the isolated incident is not common practice at his cemetery.

“I can tell you the marker should not have been put in the creek,” Honaker says. “Surely we would never put a marker in the creek today.”

During our time with David, he escorted us to different sections of Forest Lawn to show us the new markers at the graves of Mr. Ostegren and Mr. Moore.

“No it should not have ended up in the creek. How it ended up in there I don’t know. But no they should not have been there,”

For Andrew Phinney, he says he’ll always remember the discovery he made on his not so routine walk.

“It is a little eerie. Mysterious to think why this has happened.”