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Family heartbroken over poor upkeep of Chesterfield cemetery

Family heartbroken over poor upkeep of Chesterfield cemetery
Posted at 6:28 PM, May 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-25 18:28:05-04

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- A family says that they're heartbroken about the condition of a Chesterfield cemetery.

The family says that there is too much trash and that the person who runs it is doing a poor job of keeping records.

Michelle Smith and her family have been concerned for a few years with the upkeep at Mt. Minnis Memorial Park where their loved ones are buried.

"Simple things like trash cans being put out, ensuring it looks good. It's about the legacy, so those small things, knowing the value of what you have and taking care of that sacred place when your loved ones are gone," Smith said.

Chesterfield County records show that the five-acre property was bought in 1994 for $5,500 by Alphanse and Joyce Tucker. The cemetery is now run by their son Antonio.

He's the man who Smith and a group met with recently to raise their many concerns about the upkeep of the cemetery, unmarked graves that they believe should have markers and older citizens who say they prepaid for cemetery plots years ago, but there's no record of the payments.

The issues are emotional for Smith who said that there aren't records for where her grandfather is buried.

"While it hurts me that we don't know where he is, we will have to put down a marker in the general area and not over his body. We don't know an exact spot," Smith said.

Antonio Tucker said that he was unavailable for an interview. He confirmed that he met with the families over Zoom, but didn't share with CBS6 any plans to address their concerns.

Problem Solvers contacted the state agency that regulates cemeteries and was told that Mt. Minnis is not within its regulatory purview.

Private cemeteries aren't required to keep burial records and are not regulated by the state. Experts suggest families do the following before spending money at a cemetery:

  • Insist on a detailed contract with complete descriptions of grave plot or services that you purchase
  • Ask about additional costs
  • If you feel pressured and change your mind after purchasing a pre-need contract, state law guarantees customers the right to terminate the agreement

The families say that they plan to file a formal complaint with the Cemetery Board to see if anything can be done.