Illinois mom speaks out about mining company moving daughter's tombstone

GALATIA, IL (KFVS) - A coal mining company is mining under a graveyard and family members of those buried said they are worried and upset.

At Lebanon Presbyterian Church Cemetery in Galatia, Illinois, one local mom, Tiffany Feazel, visits every week.

Last Monday Feazel saw something she said she just couldn't understand.

Feazel came here to bring new vases to her daughter's grave site before Memorial Day, when she found her daughter's tombstone laying on the ground.

"And I don't know, I still to this day have problems understanding, and all over this is just taking me back to day one...That's their final resting spot," Feazel said. "Some places just shouldn't be messed with. I don't care if there was a gold mine under there, it shouldn't be touched."

Feazel laid her 5-and-a-half-week old daughter, Gabrielle, to rest in 2015. Her daughter suffered from organ failure.

With a letter on the church door, Lebanon Presbyterian Church & Cemetery informed family members that American Coal Company will be mining hundreds of feet under their loved ones graves.

In that same letter, the coal company wrote that it felt it was best to lay-over the monuments to prevent them from being damaged.

Feazel is from a coal mining family, but still worries the mining could damage her daughters grave from below.

"Believe it or not, coal mines have been going under cemeteries for years and years. I mean anything could happen," Feazel said. "It could go perfectly. The ground might not even move and then again, the whole entire ground can cave in and sink."

When the American Coal was contacted, officials sent over this statement:

The American Coal Company confirms that it reached an agreement with the church and cemetery to allow this mining.  We will do everything to mitigate any damage caused by subsidence.  Indeed, we will work closely with the church to ensure that this cemetery is completely repaired.

The project has officially started. No one from the church answered when called.

Feazel created a petition to stop underground mining in the cemetary. Click here to check out her petition.

In the meantime, Feazel worries her daughters resting place may not be final.

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Copyright 2017 KFVS.  All rights reserved. The Associated Press also contributed to this story.