Weslaco Man Says San Juan Cemetery Desecrated His Mother's Grave

4 years 5 months 3 weeks ago Tuesday, February 20 2018 Feb 20, 2018 February 20, 2018 6:40 PM February 20, 2018 in News

SAN JUAN – A Rio Grande Valley man believes his mother's gravesite was desecrated. He wants to know why a barrier around her burial ground was removed.

Ricardo Lopez moved to Weslaco from Alabama last year to care for his sick mother. He was there when she died in November.

Lopez is struggling every day to move on with his life. He says it's not so easy without his mother around.

"It's indescribable. It's somebody that's always been in your life and she meant a lot to us. I mean she was what kept a lot of us together," he says.

Lopez and his family purchased a plot for her at the San Juan Cemetery for $2,000 in November. A month later, the family decided to protect the location of her burial using bricks and rocks.

"Because all the graves were so close, we decided to put a border around it," he says. "We put a cross there also."

Lopez says a worker with the cemetery told him it was okay to put the border around the grave site.

He tells CHANNEL 5 NEWS there is nothing in the contract with the cemetery stating bricks and rocks could not be used on burial sites.

Lopez says he noticed other grave sites on the cemetery had similar borders around them. He says last weekend, a family member who visited the gravesite noticed the brick border was taken up and thrown on top of the burial site with the rocks.

He says he wishes the cemetery manager would have let him know this was going to happen.

"All we want is to find out is how come he didn't just call us? He has our phone number because we had called him,” explains Lopez. “All he had to do is look up at the records and find out who it belongs before he did anything.”

Lopez says he and his family members spent the last few days trying to get in contact with the manager of the San Juan cemetery.

"When we try to get a hold of them, they wouldn't answer, they wouldn't give us the phone number,” he tells CHANNEL 5 NEWS. “They give us the run-around, basically is what it is.”

We reached out to the manager of the San Juan Cemetery, Lalo Arcaute. He spoke with us in an off-camera interview and said the family did know the cemetery was going to remove the brick.

He points to rules and regulations but refused to further comment.

CHANNEL 5 NEWS obtained contact information for Lopez to speak with the Texas Cemeteries Association, a nonprofit group that offers guidance for those who are in a dispute with a cemetery owner or manager.

Lopez says he is happy we gave him the contact information and he will call them in the coming days to see how the grave site can be restored.

If you would like the Texas Cemeteries Association to help you in a dispute with a cemetery, you can visit their webpage. The site has a link to a page offering guidance to help you resolve your issue.

You can also call the Texas Cemeteries Association at 817-339-8210.

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