SHERADEN (KDKA) — After seeing the story on KDKA Saturday night and viewing other footage on social media, loved ones came to Hollywood Memorial Park Cemetery in Sheraden for answers on Sunday.
They are worried that the owner is disturbing gravesites and discarding documents of relatives who are buried there. The owner declined an on-camera interview, but told KDKA’s Kym Gable he owns 13 cemeteries in the region. He says he is moving earth and making improvements to areas of the cemetery that had been neglected for decades.
He claims he and his crews haven’t destroyed anything. Some family members and neighbors aren’t buying it, though.
Ruth McGrath has several generations of family members buried at the cemetery.
“I wanted to make sure the graves are still there and not damaged in any way and the markers for all my relatives would still be here,” she said. “Some are missing and some aren’t. I’m looking into that.”
Pittsburgh Police were called there to handle the accusations and a few confrontations.
Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith also talked to the property owner. She suggested a magistrate or appropriate authority to mediate.
“The zoning administrator is looking into it to see what the property is zoned for and what can happen, and whether or not the proper permits were applied for,” she said.
The owner says grave markers and documents that had been piled up outside were stored inside the office building for decades, many from the deceased whose loved ones have since had the remains relocated.
Kail-Smith says the city will have more answers on Monday.
“The local law enforcement is looking into it to make sure that there’s no documents being removed or anything being removed until they have an opportunity to really look into this. This all happened from [Saturday] night until [Sunday] with very few staff members available to look into it right now,” she said.
The owner confirms there are also plans to build a communications tower on one piece of the property, away from the gravesites. Kail Smith says that will require a public hearing.