Empty Grave May Lead To a Potential Lawsuit

December 22, 2008 2:03:39 PM PST
A Valley family is trying to find the remains of their mother who is buried in Parlier.93-year-old Hermina Zamora had a heart attack and died in 2005.

Hermina Zamora was buried at the Mendocino Cemetery in Parlier.

Her children became suspicious when they found Zamora's grave marker somewhere the family didn't ask for their mother to be buried.

This is a painful walk for the children of Hermina Zamora.

They came to the place where she was supposed to be buried.

Her daughter Abelina Lara said after suspicions grew the cemetery probed the grave and found nothing.

Abelina Lara: "She was always there for us."

Lara said workers searched and discovered a body a few feet from where Zamora should be.

Home video captured in December by the family shows an attempt to exhume that body.

Lara claimed the cemetery wanted to cover up the problem and had plans to store whatever was found in a nearby shed.

The family protested and the exhumation was stopped.

Cemetery manager Jerry Lyerla said they were trying to find Zamora's body.

Lyerla expects to find the woman's remains one spot over Where the marker was placed.

But he can't guarantee it.

Lyerla: "There's no way I would know. There's no way anybody would know until we find out. But I would say 99-hundred out of 1-thousand it is."

The family hired Attorney Gerald Schwab to file a lawsuit against the Mendocino Cemetery.

Schwab: "These cemeteries don't abide by people's religious beliefs and they need to . It's very important to people how their loved ones are buried."

Whatever is buried in this location will be exhumed on Friday with Zamora's children present.

Lara: "The funeral home has to open the casket, go by the clothes she was wearing and that's how were going to know."

A moment Lara said that will bring back the emotions of when her mother died two and a half years ago.

The family is planning to have a priest present on Friday.

If they find their mother's remains she will be blessed and reburied in the correct location.

Family members plan to sue even if cemetery workers find the body.


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