Families Slog Through Mud to Visit Loved Ones at Indy Cemetery
INDIANAPOLIS — Wendy Adams waded through nearly four inches of mud to reach her mother's grave Monday afternoon at New Crown Cemetery in Indianapolis.
The plot was submerged in mud and surrounded by patches of waterlogged, marshy ground.
"Since December, it's been an ongoing thing," Adams told News 8. "It's not just the rain from last week."
Upkeep at the southeast side cemetery has steadily deteriorated since her mother Wanda Doerr's death in November, according to Adams and her family.
Some sections of New Crown appeared to be in good condition Monday while plots toward the back of the cemetery, near Bethel Avenue, were dilapidated.
Portions of "Section 50," where Doerr was laid to rest, resembled a construction site. One family dubbed the tract of land in the back "the Section 8 of New Crown."
"It looks like they ran the backhoe over a lot of this ground," said Adams, pointing to construction crews working near Section 50.
She had trouble finding her mother's grave the first time she visited because a metal tag bearing the plot number was buried beneath mud, she said.
Her daughter resorted to counting the rows of plots to find Doerr.
Adams and her son placed a plank of wood over her mother's plot Sunday morning in order to lay flowers and Easter eggs on the grave.
At least five other families had done the same for loved ones buried in Section 50.
Flowers, stuffed animals and decorations placed directly on the ground — without the barrier of a wooden board — were "sucked into the mud like [it was] quicksand," Adams said.
"My mom was my best friend," she told News 8. "She was my world and she died suddenly. I promised I would visit her once a week... It's painful every time I see her grave."
Adams contacted cemetery management "probably four times" since December with concerns about the condition of her mother's grave, she said.
A spokesperson for New Crown Cemetery emailed a statement Monday night to News 8 in response to requests for comment.
“New Crown Cemetery is committed to providing all families with a peaceful environment for visitation and remembrance. Our cemetery has been impacted by the large amount of rain in the area over the past several weeks. We have developed a plan and are in the process of restoring the cemetery grounds as the weather allows. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused visitors to the park. We value the relationships we have with our client families and encourage anyone with concerns to contact us directly.”
(Photo by WISH-TV.)