Families surprised to find headstones missing from cemetery on Father's Day

Posted at 6:39 PM, Jun 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-19 19:55:48-04

A Father's Day trip to Doris Miller Memorial Park became even more heartbreaking for two families who couldn't find their loved ones' headstone. 

Ashli Thornton was ready with flowers in hand on Sunday but was left puzzled when her father's grave was nowhere to be found. 

"You should always be able to come and visit your loved ones and never have this happen," Thornton said. "It's a very eerie and spooky feeling to pull up to a graveyard where somebody has been deceased the last 10 years and for their grave not to be here."

Thornton said she doesn't believe the headstone was stolen since there are more expensive ones in the cemetery that were left untouched. 

She said a lack of maintenance most likely caused the headstone to go missing.

"This cemetery is unfortunately notorious for people feeling like they don't keep it up as much as they should," Thornton said.

Thornton watched as the grounds crew used heavy machinery to try and dig up the headstone on Monday, which is still missing.

"They went three feet in, they almost got to the body," Thornton said.

Thornton said the woman who runs the cemetery has already offered to replace it. 

"You know, unmarked graves are for people who don't have family and people who don't have people that are still here to advocate for them. So I'm daddy's advocate today," Thornton said.

Chris Clark is also waiting for answers after receiving a call from his little sister, LaKrisha Reed, on Sunday. She was the one who told him that their father and grandfather's headstones were also missing. 

"I hate that it's not been taken care of," Clark said. "The rain and weather cause some shifting, but for the ones who are dead and gone, we want to make sure they're still taken care of."

Clark was able to find his father's headstone buried underneath the grass and dirt. He has yet to find his grandfather's even after helping the grounds crew dig on Monday. 

"We were out here like an hour an a half, two hours searching for it," Clark said. "I was a little frustrated, a little frustrated. Still is a little frustrating because my grandfather's headstone is supposed to be here and we can't find it."

Clark said the woman in charge did offer her apologies and tried to help where she could. He said she told him that the problem was, "finding good help."

"It sounds like she's having a little trouble with the upkeep," Clark said. "So maybe we can come together as a community and help her or whatever the need may be." 

The office on the cemetery's property was closed all day, even though a sign in the window said it's open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Central Texas News Now did reach out to those who run the property by phone. We have yet to hear back.

Other people have called the station to report that their family member's headstones are missing as well. 

Copyright 2018 KXXV. All rights reserved.