Woman: Someone else buried in loved one's plot

By Ashley Harding - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - In the days since Channel 4 reported that as many as 2,000 bodies may have to be exhumed from Restlawn Memory Park on the Northside, more families are coming forward with concerns.

Among them is a woman who was told that someone else is buried in her loved one's plot.

Sara Flynn speaks lovingly about Reatha Jackson, the woman she says helped raise her.

"Reatha came to work for my parents when I was 2 1/2 years old, and she stayed in my life until she died, 42 years later," Flynn said. "We just adored her. She was a mother to me. She was my best friend."

Flynn said Jackson was buried at Restlawn after she died in 2005, but Flynn got a devastating call later on.

"When the casket store went out there to put her gravestone in her place, there was someone else buried in the plot," she said.

If you look at a picture of Jackson's gravestone, you can see the problem. Another person's gravestone is about a foot away, with the names facing each other. That leaves Flynn wondering, who is actually buried there?

"They told me they had buried her in a pathway. Where? I couldn't imagine," Flynn said. "We walked around and there's no pathway near the site of her gravestone."

This all comes after Channel 4 broke the news that as many as 2,000 may have to be removed amidst allegations that they were improperly buried over the site of an old roadway. This all occurred under previous ownership. Since then, Channel 4 has been flooded with calls and emails.

Mark Riposta, Restlawn's current owner, said he, too, has been inundated with phone calls from concerned families. He said he's been in touch with many of them and he's determined to make things right.

"There is an urgency to correct these things, but there's a necessity to correct these things," Riposta said. "We have to get it so that the folks who have loved ones buried in appropriate gardens in the back of Restlawn cemetery can go visit their loved ones."

Flynn said in terms of getting answers for Reatha, she's had a hard time getting help. She said the mystery has been hard for Reatha's sons.

"It just devastates them," Flynn said. "They loved her. She was really the heart of a lot of good people, you know. We care."

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