Family: Cemetery resold burial spot

Owner of Restlawn Memorial Park is in bankruptcy lawsuit, can't refund money

Published On: Jan 30 2013 03:12:19 PM EST   Updated On: Jan 04 2013 03:40:00 AM EST
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

Norris Moss' mother, Ida Collins, is 82 years old. Twelve years ago, she bought herself a casket and a spot in the mausoleum at Restlawn Memorial Park, a cemetery on the Northside.

Now, Collins' family says, that spot is gone, resold, they say, to a higher bidder.

"Resold everything," Moss said. "Didn't tell the truth about none of what was going on out there."

Moss wouldn't have found out if it weren't for a Channel 4 story that aired in November about missing graves at the same cemetery. After the discovery, Moss said, the cemetery offered a ground plot as compensation, but Collins didn't trust it.

"She don't want any of it; just give her her money back," Moss said. "The family just aching for her monies back."

But Restlawn won't because it can't. The owner of the cemetery, Southside Christian Ministries, is in a bankruptcy lawsuit. According to court documents, the courts froze all the money related to previously sold accounts while the matter is settled. Moss' mother's is one of those. So the family says its out a plot and the cash it spent on a new one.

The cemetery said it would be unavailable for comment until Tuesday.

Moss, on the other hand, doesn't plan to wait that long.

"I don't know who I'm going after, but here come the train. I'm sorry, here come the locomotive, here come the locomotive, 'cause this is wrong," Moss said.

A letter from the state says it tried to talk to Restlawn multiple times without success. Because the cemetery is owned by a religious organization, it is outside the state's jurisdiction and the state can't do anything beyond that.