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Grave mistake: Family outraged after Fort Lauderdale cemetery can’t locate burial site of loved one

Family angered when Fort Lauderdale funeral home can't locate grave site
Family angered when Fort Lauderdale funeral home can't locate grave site

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Donovan Thompson said his family suffered a tremendous loss when his father died several months ago.

He says they are traumatized again because they are unsure where his body was buried.

“I’ve never heard of this. What kind of crap is this?” Thompson asked.

Thompson said he and his family wanted to visit the cemetery Tuesday and do paperwork to secure a headstone at Forest Lawn Memorial Gardens Central in Fort Lauderdale.

Thompson admits he couldn’t remember exactly where the burial plot was and said cemetery employees pointed him to a round marker in the ground that indicated where several plots were located in one section. He said he was confused by flowers and beads placed where he believed his father’s plot was.

“It should have been labeled correctly, they should have had the right heading,” Thompson said. “It was not marked.”

The Thompson family said they asked for the grave to be dug up and believed there would be more indicators in the ground showing who was buried there.

Cell phone taken by the Thompson family and given to Local 10 shows crews with heavy machinery digging several feet into the ground.

Late Tuesday, Thompson said the tomb was uncovered and the top of the casket was revealed. An engraving on his father’s casket is on the side, according to family, so they said they were unable to immediately recognize the one in the ground.

An employee from the cemetery said she was unable to speak to Local 10 about the matter.

An email from Forest Lawn sent to Local 10 reads:

“As part of our commitment to all of our client families, we guard their privacy and because of this, we do not discuss specific client matters with the media.”

About the Author:

Janine Stanwood joined Local 10 News in February 2004 as an assignment editor. She is now a general assignment reporter. Before moving to South Florida from her Washington home, Janine was the senior legislative correspondent for a United States senator on Capitol Hill.