Cleanup efforts, mess on gravestones frustrate parents of babies buried at NC cemetery

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KINGS MOUNTAIN, N.C. (WBTV) – There is cemetery cleanup that is causing controversy in Kings Mountain.

The cemetery is the final resting place for those who have passed on. The hope is families can come to grieve and find peace, but for several families in Kings Mountain, that’s not the case.

One couple WBTV’s Bria Bell talked to says it’s hard to grieve the loss of their baby girl because maintenance crews at Mountain Rest Cemetery are making a mess on the graves.

The couple also says this has been a problem — on and off — for the last four years. They’ve tried reaching out to city officials because this land is the property of Kings Mountain, but they haven’t had any luck. They believe the mess is disrespectful and say this is the last thing they want to deal with when visiting their baby.

“Have a heart. This is my child,” said Tara Waters.

Tara and her husband Brandon Waters say groundskeepers have destroyed grave sites. Grass and debris are caked onto the decorated stone of their baby girl Kyndal.

She was born on Dec. 3, 2015. Kyndal died the next day.

“It is heartbreaking to see that somebody has come behind me and destroyed what we make look good. They come out here and they just tear it apart,” said Tara.

This area of the cemetery is nicknamed “Baby Land” because there are several other little ones resting there too. Just like baby Kyndal’s parents, other families have seen toys, flowers and trinkets ruined because of either a lawnmower or weed eater.

“They’re not just markers. They’re not marble plaques with words. These are birthdays. These are celebratory moments that won’t be celebrated in life,” said Brandon.

Tara and Brandon say they’ve tried to reason with some of the groundskeepers and have volunteered to maintain the graves for free. They say that hasn’t worked out in their favor so far because the workers continue to do lawn work despite their plea.

“Some are very confrontational. They don’t care. They make it known that it happens. We do it and get over it,” said Tara.

“It’s in one ear and out the other,” said Brandon.

The Waters say they don’t want much of anything except to see these angels rest and their grave sites respected.

WBTV’s Bria Bell spoke to the head groundskeeper and he told her off camera that he would make it a point to make sure his crew wipes debris off of the babies’ graves moving forward.

She also reached out to the director of public works for comment but was told he was on vacation and a representative for the city said there was no one else available to offer a comment.

Copyright 2019 WBTV. All rights reserved.

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