Family Sues Cemetery for Missing Body

March 28, 2008 7:45:10 PM PDT
A valley family says their loved one isn't in his proper resting place and they're blaming the cemetery for the blunder. For years, the family of a World War II veteran prayed at his grave at the Mountain View Cemetery in West Central Fresno. But now, there not even sure it's "his" grave.

Lorin Shaw's family "thought" they laid him to rest back in 1992. But now, more than a decade later, they have no idea where his final resting place is.

"I used to talk to my dad. Get done on my knees and talk to him and I have don't that since. Because there's nobody to talk to," said Patricia Potter.

For 13 years Patricia Potter and her nine sisters and brothers spent a lot of time at the graveside of their father Lorin Shaw. It's also a place where their mother also took great comfort until her death.

Three years ago, the peace was shattered when daughter Stacey noticed something unusual. "His headstone's been completely turned around."

So she took another look at a photo taken the day of her father's funeral.

The family said the photo shows the original burial site some 40 feet away from where Shaw's headstone eventually ended. Plus, the Shaw children said cemetery records show their father's remains could be in at least three other places throughout the cemetery. Even more disturbing, the family's attorney also said another man is supposed to be buried where Shaw's grave marker lies.

Since 2005, Mountain View Cemetery has settled claims by two different families that the cemetery misplaced their loved ones. A plaintiff's expert in this case claims to have found more than 100 mistakes just in the section where Lorin Shaw is. "It's not fair to my dad's memory. It's not fair to him and it's not far to us. We don't have a proper place to come out here and know he is where he was supposed to be buried," said Lorin Shaw.

The manager of Mountain View Cemetery refused to speak with Action News. Both sides will meet next month to see if a trial can be avoided.


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