PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – In a cemetery just outside of Cheswick, where hundreds are laid to rest, there is one family visiting loved ones who are both sad and angry.
“That’s my daughter, that’s Cindy’s husband, my mother where she’ll be, my father and grandfather,” said Debbie Crowley.
It’s the family plot and Crowley is there the most. Her daughter, Erin Lynn, died at 12 years old after a battle with cerebral palsy and is buried there. However, her grave is now covered in water and mud – you can barely read a name. This is how nearly 50 graves look at Cheswick’s Lakewood Memorial Cemetery.
“It’s just — it’s a shame,” Crowley said.
Some people have to take off their shoes to trudge through the muck and visit family graves.
“You can almost feel it oozing out of the ground, the water,” Crowley said.
This isn’t runoff from an early summer rainstorm. Crowley’s daughter died in 1992, her sister’s husband – a Marine Corps veteran – died decades ago. Their graves have looked this way off and on since.
“I’m devastated, you know,” she said. “You come out here, and it’s like this. I was devastated.”
This is most difficult for the mother, grandmother and wife Bettie Glass.
“I love them,” she said. “They’re still here.”
So what is the problem? Cemetery management first told family members it was a bad water line. Now it looks to be some sort of expanding runoff and drainage issue. A large area of graves are now marked off with wooden stakes and string.
When asked if they were working on the problem, cemetery officials said “no comment.”
Less than 24 hours after KDKA called, cemetery management had work crews on the site. It appears that they are installing a French drain.
One man, who did not want to identify himself at cemetery headquarters, promised that the problem will be fixed.
When asked why it’s taken so long to address the problem – years even – he said “I can’t comment on anything else,” but continued to assure that it would be fixed.
For the family, at least there is hope.
“I’m just hurt,” Crowley said, “hurt that it looks like this.”
Have a problem? Contact KDKA’s Marty Griffin at firstname.lastname@example.org.