Looking for answers at St. Stephens Cemetery

Families search for answers after desecrated graves at St. Stephen's Cemetery

LOUISVILLE (WHAS) -- The words "Rest in Peace" can be found engraved in granite at St. Stephens Cemetery, but peace is far from present Sunday afternoon as families of loved ones buried in the plots there survey the sight of overturned earth, scattered flowers and decorations and even a headstone poking out of a mountain of dirt.

"It makes you feel terrible. Makes your heart race. You don't know what to do about it," Judy Pryor, one of the people there Sunday afternoon, said. "When it comes to losing your family, and I've got a lot of family members here, you can't get over that. When you lose your family, you want them to be taken care of."

"I mean they're gone, but this is where we come to feel close to them," Delshanon Jeffries said.

Some headstones are overturned. Others, like Jeffries' mother's, have gone missing.

"We've been told she's got no records of anybody," she said.

Jeffries and others have tried to reach out to the cemetery's groundskeepers with questions on how this could have happened, but according to Jeffries, those attempts have come back empty.

"She don't tell you where they're buried," she said. "She won't talk to you. She won't answer the phone or open the door. My mom's supposed to be buried somewhere around here."

Other families there tell WHAS11 they have had issues with St. Stephens before, but this latest act has families joining together seeking for justice for their loved ones.

"You put things on your family's headstone and around your family's grave and they should be able to stay there," Pryor said.

"It's the worst form of disrespect to people because now we don't know if they're here, where they are or if they're buried properly," Jeffries said. "Imagine your mother is still alive and somebody's treating her this way, throwing her in a dirt pile or picking her up and moving her like she's nothing. It doesn't feel good. I'm angry."

Metro Police tell WHAS11 an officer will be on duty through the night. Police have taken down reports and are urging families affected to file a complaint with the Kentucky Attorney General's office.

© 2017 WHAS-TV


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