CHICAGO (CBS) — Every time they go to visit their mother’s grave, a family sees pools of water on the ground.
The two Chicago sisters are so upset, they turned to CBS 2 for help.
And then they were locked out of the cemetery.
CBS 2’s Jim Williams has the story from Oak Woods Cemetery in the Grand Crossing neighborhood.
The sisters were locked out just as they were about to describe the poor condition of their mother’s grave. For weeks, CBS 2 has been following the flooding at the historic cemetery.
It’s been an ordeal for sisters Marlin Howell and Wanda Howell Denton. Little more than a week ago, they buried their mother Gwendolyn at the Oak Woods Cemetery, in a grave they call deplorable, surrounded by pools of flood water.
“What is Oak Woods Cemetery about? How do they treat patrons,” asked Wanda Howell Denton.
“They buried my mother in a mud-ridden sinkhole. And wanted us to stand there and witness that. And not complain,” added Marlin Howell.
A photo they showed CBS 2, there was water in the grave.
Last month, CBS 2 reported on flooding at Oak Woods and the poor condition of graves, including that of Rashell Bowman’s son.
“I don’t sleep. I don’t eat,” said Bowman.
“I said ‘Oh my god. They’ve not done it just to me. They’ve done it to somebody else,'” said Marlin Howell.
Adding to the sisters’ misery, on Wednesday the cemetery locked them out. Even a funeral procession could not get in.
Nor could Wendy Jenkins on her mother’s birthday.
“I was coming here to decorate my mom’s grave site for her birthday,” said Jenkins. “I think it’s crazy.”
Oak Woods offered no explanation to any of the loved ones kept outside the gates.
“Again, they were disrespecting us and disrespecting my mother’s remains and not allowing us to come in a place in which our mother had purchased graves,” Marlin Howell said.
“Our mother would have never, in 2007, bought these four plots if she had known that they would have treated her remains and her grieving family in this manner. She would have never done that,” added Wanda Howell Denton.
The cemetery told CBS 2 it locked the gates because heavy rainfall has caused pooling and the cemetery wants to keep patrons and workers safe.
Meantime, Wanda and Marlin said they want their mother’s remains moved from Oak Woods. The cemetery said it is working to resolve the situation.