Families Protest Bridgeport Cemetery Amid Shocking Allegations of Missing Bodies
BRIDGEPORT, CT – October 5, 2018
Families gathered on Thursday in front of Park Cemetery in Bridgeport to hold a protest after a lawsuit alleged that the cemetery was double-stacking bodies in graves and disposing of old bones and caskets to make room for new burials.
Police say it all started when one family member filed a lawsuit alleging gross mismanagement, giving rise to complaints about tire tracks on burial plots, sunken graves, and human bones found around the cemetery.
The families also complained about broken headstones, vehicles driving over graves, and bodies missing from burial plots.
"I mean, here you think you're burying your loved one for life, for them to rest," says Doreen Buchard. "And really we don't know if that's true."
They say they were shocked. "You can't find the body," says Andrea Orroyo.
"Well, it's like going through the grief process all over again," says Cheryl Jansen, the resident. "You're suffering the death a second time."
Photos provided by a relative of another person buried in the cemetery show tire tracks from a backhoe that marred the graves. They further show the cemetery in general disarray.
State Rep. Chris Rosario says he has called for several state agencies to investigate Park Cemetery.
"This is the lowest, the cheapest place for us to bury our people here in Bridgeport," says Ana Depaz. "And this is where all the minorities and all the lower class people bury their family. Why are they treating us like this?"
“This is an outrage,” says Dan Maldonado, who has multiple relatives buried at the site, “and we’re not going to stand for it!”
The cemetery has violated many state regulations, and a new official will likely be appointed to run the facility's day-to-day operations, police said. Police Chief AJ Perez says he executed a search warrant triggered by Jansen's lawsuit, and while he found the cemetery was in violation of several state regulations, it had not commited any crimes, News12 reported.
On Tuesday, Detectives Jorge Cintron and Kimberly Biehn testified that dozens of headstones, some dating back to the 1800s, have been moved so that the newly dead could be buried in plots stacked on old graves. Cintron says a grave digger told him that he had been ordered by LaPrade to throw old bones and caskets away to make room for new graves, CTPost wrote.