Families 'disgusted' with conditions at cemetery
Manager arrested after 3-month I-TEAM investigation into funeral home, cemetery
ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. – Just one day after the manager of First Coast Funeral Home and its sister company, Beaches Memorial Park, was arrested, two families came forward, saying they're "disgusted" with the conditions at the cemetery, including the cockroaches in the mausoleums.
Nader "John" Rayan was arrested Thursday on 16 charges, most felonies resulting from taking money for services that were never provided.
The News4Jax I-TEAM, which has been investigating the funeral home and cemetery since May, was invited Friday to Beaches Memorial Park by two families who said their loved one's graves are being disgraced.
Al Edwards said she cannot believe how her husband Glenn's grave site looks 11 years since his death.
"It's devastating, absolutely devastating. Your loved one is here, and no one seems to be caring," Edwards said.
According to the state attorney's office, Rayan is charged with 11 counts of grand theft, one count of improper storage of a body, one count of fraud, one count of dealing with stolen property, one petty theft and one count of false verification of ownership to a recycler.
"We need to pray for him and his family. He's not working for our Maker. He's working for the enemy, apparently, and he needs God," Edwards said.
Despite the weeds and poor maintenance, Edwards said she feels lucky her husband was buried before the Rayans bought the business.
Kimberely Gammons, who's father and six other family members have plots at the cemetery and inside the mausoleum, does not feel as fortunate.
"I'm disgusted with it. I've been staying right up with the news. We called and complained over a year ago about this. I mean roaches, the carpet is filthy," Gammons said. "I want it cleaned up. We shouldn't have to walk into that. It's embarrassing."
Rayan's wife, Amanda, is the listed owner of the businesses. There was no word Thursday about whether she would also face charges.
Gammons said she feels more punishment is needed for what families are enduring, at a time when they need the most compassion.
"I feel like Amanda is at fault. I'm not saying what John did was right or wrong, but she's at fault. She owns this place," Gammons said.
Gammons said she wants permission from the state for families to come and clean the mausoleums. Even though it's private property, owned by Amanda Rayan, Gammons said her family deserves more and should be able to chip in, if that's what it takes.
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