SCIOTO COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- It's a burial brawl -- a battle is brewing in a rural, local cemetery about who's buried where. Or maybe more importantly -- who's buried on top of who.
We made the trip to Vernon Township in Scioto County where the matter played out in loud fashion.
It started out with a concern for disrespecting the dead. It ended with a heated exchange, words flying and maps rolled out in the middle of the cemetery.
“I think the settlers and founders of our community should be kept where they're at without other people being piled on top of them,” Fawn Egerton said.
Egerton has family buried at the Vernon Cemetery in Vernon Township -- located in quiet, rural Scioto County. But, the burial controversy brewing there is enough to wake the dead.
The main issue is the entry section to the cemetery, which dates back to the 1800s. Even though there were no markers, for years, it was believed there were plenty of folks buried here.
“Many of the markers have disappeared because many of the markers were field stones. A lot of them were wooden, and in time that leaves,” said Eileen Crawford.
“This is the original part of the cemetery, and this the first area of the cemetery where people should have been buried,” Rick Cartee said.
Cartee is a township trustee. For years he wouldn't sell any plots to that part of the cemetery because it was assumed it was full.
In the late 1990s, that all changed, and several families were allowed to buy plots here and started burying loved ones.
“It seems like a desecration to me. I wouldn't want anyone buried on top of me or my loved ones,” Crawford said.
While we were debating the issue, Danny Wicker, who bought 15 plots for his family, showed up with a map.
“I tried to show this crap to the trustees years ago, and they can't read a map, so that's a bad thing,” Danny Wicker said.
According to Wicker and his fiancee, the only thing that was on the land was a maintenance shed and parking around it. When it was removed in the mid-90s, that freed up space to bury more people.
“We’re confident we're not burying on top of the dead. To my knowledge, there's nothing there,” said Rebecca Diamond, Wicker’s fiancée.
We called several cemeteries and governing agencies.
We were able to determine while it's not a commonly held practice to bury one person on top of another, there are provisions for it if you dig a specially designed crypt.
At this point, the Vernon Cemetery trustees maintain they are not burying on top of the dead and if they ever thought there were already people buried there, they would not sell the plots to anyone else.
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