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Contact 2 gets answers for Alton family after cemetery mix-up

ALTON, Ill. - It’s been nearly three years since Davidda Hathaway’s mother passed away.

“I’m an only child. All I knew was me and my mother, so it was very hard for me. I’m still dealing with it," Hathaway said.

Davidda’s mother, Mary Hathaway, is buried at Upper Alton Cemetery. Her headstone was purchased from Alton Memorial Sales. Once the headstone was set, Davidda’s family visited the cemetery to pay their respects. She said there was immediate concern among her family that the headstone wasn’t in the same spot they’d gathered during the burial. She inquired.

“A man came out, walked me to the spot and was like, 'No, she’s in the right spot.' Well, the past two years we’ve been going to that spot. Mother’s Day we went to that spot and all of the sudden it’s moved,” Hathaway said.

A peaceful Mother’s Day visit quickly turned into frantic search.

“It was just concrete there. Wasn’t a headstone or anything in that location. Just an empty spot. We walked back some and I was like it’s right here now. Why isn’t it right there where we’ve been going the last two years?” Hathaway said.

Davvida was relieved but resentful.

“We didn’t get any kind of letter, phone call, anything. We just showed up and it’s moved,” she said.

Fox 2/KPLR 11 went to Upper Alton Cemetery to get answers. The manager explained the cemetery only provides the burial, footing for the gravestone and maintenance. They instruct the monument company where to place the headstone. Once it’s in place, the monument company contacts the family.

“Why did it take two years for them to realize it was in the wrong spot?” Hathaway said.

The cemetery manager couldn’t answer that question. He said Alton Memorial Sales placed the headstone where the cemetery told them to, but the coordinates given by the cemetery weren’t exact. When the cemetery acknowledged the issue it alerted Alton Memorial Sales. They moved the headstone to its proper spot.

“I want to get to the bottom of it and see where my mom is actually at," Hathaway said. "What they’re going to do from here on out to rectify this situation and prevent it from happening to someone else.”

The cemetery manager tells Contact 2’s Mike Colombo that Mary Hathaway’s headstone is now set where it should’ve been in the first place. The manager said this situation is rare, but not unheard of. Both the cemetery and monument company are sorry about what happened and want to make sure it doesn’t happen again. The cemetery regrets its lack of communication with Davidda and asks anyone with concerns of this kind to explicitly alert them as soon as they arise.