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Crown Hill Cemetery rules lead to heartbreak for loved ones

Published: Apr. 15, 2021 at 5:23 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 15, 2021 at 5:30 PM EDT
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KNOX, Ind. (WNDU) - 16 News Now is getting answers to viewer concerns in Knox where people visiting their loved ones at the Crown Hill Cemetery are finding the decorations left at the gravesites in the dumpster.

16 News Now spoke to several cemetery board members who said they removed items that violated cemetery rules as part of their cleanup, throwing away most of them.

Here’s why those impacted by the cleanup say the board’s actions produce more heartbreak than answers.

These are the rules that people need to follow in terms of decorating the gravesites of their loved ones here at the Crown Hill Cemetery in Knox. We spoke with more than a dozen people who question why these rules are being enforced on some graves but not on others.

The board members we spoke to preferred to stay off-camera, but they said the enforcement issue is because they haven’t had time to clean up all the graves yet or due to grave owners replacing items against the rules.

The rules restrict decorations to basically flower arrangements that are mounted to the headstone, one shepherd’s hook shorter than four feet, military and first responder emblems, and one religious eternity light, all of which need to be part of the foundation.

They say anything else that’s not concrete gets thrown away.

One of the board members said visitors can contact her if owners have questions about the rules or their decorations.

Grave owners we spoke to say getting in touch with the board is easier said than done, and by the time they realize they broke the rules, their decorations are already in the trash.

“It’s just really sad and heartbreaking and like I said I didn’t even realize my stuff was gone, because I placed it a couple weeks ago, until today,” said Crown Hill grave owner Tammie Taublee.

“I understand that the board has an obligation to keep the cemetery looking good but I think they went overboard in this respect by removing our personal items, and there’s no notification from the board as to when they’re cleaning the cemetery or what they’re doing out here,” said Crown Hill grave owner Rhonda Stacy.

One grave owner told us she didn’t expect to have a bench removed from her father’s grave that was there for a whole year.

“They didn’t say anything to us. They didn’t try to contact us at all. They don’t have any communication page or a Facebook page and it’s really hard to find out how to contact them,” said Crown Hill grave owner Jackie Bradley.

Several owners we spoke to say these problems could be avoided with proper communication.

Board members say you can get in touch with them by requesting their phone number from the City of Knox or through one of the local funeral home directors.

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