WINFIELD, Mo. – Far from the main road is a cemetery buried with history that keeps piling up with trash.
Rebecca Brown has ancestors of all ages at Rybolt Cemetery in Lincoln County.
“As young as a year old and up,” Brown said. “There’s some adults 20 and 30 years old, and on up.”
She’s been told around 40 to 50 people are laid to rest at Rybolt.
“I’ve been coming here since back in the ‘70s with my grandmother,” Brown said.
It’s always been quiet, but over the years, Brown said it’s turned into another kind of burial place.
“There’s been everything dumped here. Ashes, metal pieces; we’ve picked up tons of trash,” she said.
From kid toys, tires, and even a new swing, Brown said headstones have even been knocked over. She questions who could do such a thing.
“People are just destroying it,” Brown said.
The rural cemetery isn’t so secluded anymore. Dozens and dozens of homes have been built around the cemetery.
“It’s very depressing,” Brown said.
While talking with Brown, an unidentified man said nearby neighbors, who just moved away, had been dumping trash. He admits some of the toys in the cemetery belonged to his kids, but they’re not leaving trash. The man said he’s been maintaining the cemetery by cutting grass and cleaning up after others.
The Board of Trustees of the Hidden Valley at Hammett Hills Homeowners Association said it was just made aware of the issues.
“Unfortunately, we are not sure who even owns it or is responsible for its maintenance, or if members of our HOA were even the individuals responsible for any of the trash,” the Board of Trustees wrote. “If the issue persists, this may be something that we personally have to clean up in the interim, at least until a more permanent plan is put in place by owners and/or caretakers.”
The homeowners association sent a notice last month to residents about not dumping trash or adding playground equipment to the cemetery.
“It’s weird to me. Why would you want to build houses around a cemetery on farm ground? I guess, everyone has to do something,” Brown said. “I would just like people to be respectful.”