CHERAW, S.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – “It’s hurtful we picked a perpetual care cemetery on purpose,” Tracey Riley said.
Riley says there’s no reason why her husband’s grave should be surrounded by waist-high grass, unkempt dirt, and large debris.
She’s been complaining to the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulations about the conditions of Chatham Hill Memorial.
Six other complaints were sent to the Perpetual Care Board and ended with the owner being charged with not maintaining the cemetery’s appearance.
But Riley’s most recent complaint was dismissed.
“I’m amazed, I’m hurt, and I’m in disbelief,” Riley said. “I do not understand how they can possibly dismiss the case when I have pictures of the grass waist high; you know I have pictures of trees falling over.”
Margaret Wolfe buried her daughter here as well, and instead of spending time with her, she’s often cleaning up the area around her plot.
“And it really breaks my heart that I had her here because I always thought that she would be taken care of,” Wolfe said.
South Carolina state law says ‘cemeteries must be maintained to present a cared-for appearance.‘
The Perpetual Care Cemetery Board has two current complaints being investigated involving maintenance and care issues.
A department representative says, ‘most cemetery complaints involve care and maintenance issues.’
Chesterfield County councilwoman Mary Anderson has taken several complaints about the issue; she says she’s also working to find a solution.
“I learned through the process that we really do not have jurisdiction over the cemetery, unfortunately, so there isn’t really anything that the council as a whole can do,” Anderson said. “I am representing my district and not just my district but the county and people who have lived here before.”
With no end in sight, Riley’s next step is figuring out where to go.
“I know my kids are grown, but when your baby girl calls you the day after Thanksgiving, and she’s bawling because of the way her daddy’s grave looks, and it hurts, and you want to fix it, and that’s what he would’ve done,” she said. “He would’ve tried to fix it.”