Families shocked by condition of cemetery in Independence Twp.

It's not what anyone wants to see at a cemetery. Families were shocked to see headstones moved out of place, and imprints of tire tracks and wet soil on the sacred ground.

Officials at Ottawa Park Cemetery in Independence Township say the damage happened when crews using heavy machinery tried to get a vault on top of a hill. They say the backhoe had trouble getting through soil, which was left mushy by winter snow and caused this damage.

"As for the burial that was supposed to take place, it didn't take place because I couldn't make it up there with my equipment," says Pablo Cruz, from the Ottawa Park Cemetery. "Nothing is damaged; nothing is broke. Everything will be back to normal," says Cruz.

He says every effort is being made to fix the damage and restore the portion of the cemetery to what it once was.

"We're going to put topsoil and re-seed it, save the monuments and markers and it'll be back to normal like it usually is," he says.

Officials are also working to clear up rumors, like the one circulating that a body is in a vault.

Cruz says, "There's not a body in the vault. There's no casket in there." 

Leslie Haywood's grandfather was laid to rest in the section that was damaged, but she says accidents happen and she is happy with how things are being handled. 

"Everyone has been kind. Unfortunately, it happened. It was not vandalism; mistakes happen. Sometimes people do their jobs and it's not perfect," she says.
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