Benton cemetery problems continue - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Benton cemetery problems continue

There are thousands of flowers, vases, flags, baskets, and other mementoes at a dumpsite that have been removed from grave sites over the years. There are thousands of flowers, vases, flags, baskets, and other mementoes at a dumpsite that have been removed from grave sites over the years.
Not all the grave sites have been cleared of mementoes and flowers, like others have been cleared of everything. Not all the grave sites have been cleared of mementoes and flowers, like others have been cleared of everything.

BENTON, IL (KFVS) - The problems at the Masonic & Odd Fellows Cemetery continue and many grave site owners want some answers.

On Tuesday morning a handful of those concerned owners gathered outside the cemetery board office.

One by one they were called in to address their concerns and complaints to cemetery board members.

"For five years I never knew there was a dumpsite," said Peggy Page of Benton, Illinois. "My son was a big Rusty Wallace fan. And all of his Rusty Wallace stuff was thrown out there like it was nothing but trash. And it's very upsetting that we have to go out to the dumpsite. And find stuff we put on our loved ones' graves."

The dumpsite Page is talking about sits on the southeast side of the cemetery property back in a large stand of trees.

There are thousands of flowers, vases, flags, baskets, and other mementoes that have been removed from grave sites over the years.

"Of course I was devastated and it was heartbreaking when I first saw the pile of things," said Jessica McConnell. "To find all those memories just put in the trash like that."

The cemetery board president had this to say about the pile of grave site items piled up in the woods.

"I feel like we've been set up," said Howard Johnson. "That stuff was put back there on purpose, like the flags some of those mementoes, to make the Masonic & OddFellows Cemetery Board look like we're a bunch of heathens."

But, not all the grave sites have been cleared of mementoes and flowers, like others have been cleared of everything.

"It makes me really mad," said Rick Seddon of Marion, Illinois. " My son's been dead since September last year. And we've brought stuff out here and it's gone. We haven't been able to find it. And all these other people bring things out here and it's still there. It makes you feel kind of picked on. And someone needs to be held accountable."

The cemetery board president did finally admit that some of the things had been removed from grave sites. But only things that were on the ground. He stands firm that nothing was removed  from gravestones.

"We take them back there and store them where the other flowers are at," said Johnson. "If anybody wants to come out and think they've been mistreated the can look for their flowers there. If not we load them up in the Fall, and a dumpster takes them away." 

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