Family says Dade Memorial Park mixed up man's burial location

Disinterment ordered after family hires attorney

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – A South Florida family doubted the placement of their loved one's burial plot, but now they have received some much needed closure.

"We entrusted our loved one into the (Dade) Memorial Park and they failed us," Utonda Frazier said.

Frazier's brother, Mark Mitchell, died last March, but an equipment issue on burial day prevented them from seeing the casket lowered into the ground.

The family returned to the site for a visit two weeks later.

"When I got there, the marker was placed in an area that was never dug. The grass was just old weeds," Frazier said.

"They go and they tell a representative of the cemetery what happened. They just pick up a marker and drop it on the ground. That's not the way you reassure this family that he's buried in the place he's in," the family's attorney, Ortavia Simon, said.

Dade Memorial Park is the same cemetery where a headstone mix-up brought emotional havoc on the family of famed NFL player T.Y. Hilton.

"They dig the hole right here, so I don’t know what’s going on," Hilton Sr. said. "They dig the hole right here so how she get over here."

Hilton Sr., whose mother was buried on the land, was told in 2015 that his mother wasn't actually buried where her headstone was located.

A disinterment was ordered then for answers and again on Wednesday.

"The only thing you were seeking was confirmation?" Local 10 News reporter Terrell Forney asked Mitchell's mother.

"Confirmation that my son was there where he's supposed to be. All I wanted was closure," Sara McRae said.

After 10 months of doubting and added grief, the site of Mitchell's unmarked grave was confirmed.

"It's a weight lifted off my shoulder," Frazier said. "I feel like I can come now again and just sit when I want to sit, and I just know he's there. I know it now. I see it with my eyes, something I wasn't given the privilege of on the day of the burial."

About the Author:

Terrell Forney joined Local 10 News in October 2005 as a general assignment reporter. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, but a desire to escape the harsh winters of the north brought him to South Florida.