Residents furious over state of Cedar Grove Cemetery graves - WFXG FOX 54 - News Now

Residents furious over state of Cedar Grove Cemetery graves

AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) -

When Mattie Mitchell went to visit her grandparents' grave site at Cedar Grove Cemetery, she says what she saw is disgraceful.

"So many people's graves just stockpiled. They look like landfill piles of dirt," she says. "It has no dignity, no pride, no self-worth."

Mitchell and her friend, Earl Pinkerton, who also has family members buried in the historic cemetery, are outraged at the state of many perpetual care graves on the city-managed grounds.

A downed tree covers numerous tombstones. Bricks from tombs are scattered along the grass and graves.

Mitchell and Pinkerton look at these, and say Augusta isn't holding up their end of the bargain for those who expected perpetual care.

"They were buying it specifically to be taken care of," Mitchell says. "To spend eternity in a clean environment, to spend eternity in an environment they wouldn't be ashamed of."

The most disrespectful sight they say are the two massive mounds of dirt piled on top of several graves.

One of those graves belongs to Cpl. Otis Carter. His tombstone, just inches from the dirt, says he served in the Air Force during World War II.

Mitchell says what she sees is unacceptable.

"Just imagine how many graves are up under there," she says, pointing to the dirt mound. "That's like burying people twice."

The disarray of veterans' graves is what has Pinkerton most fired up, serving in the Korean War himself.

"It's more than disrespectful," he says, stopping himself. "It's almost savagery."

Both say it's time the city of Augusta does something about the problem.

Mitchell says she won't rest until she gets results.

"I might just commit myself to come down here every Friday before closing to make sure things are right," she says. "The commissioners can look for me to address them at least two to three times a month."

Fox 54 spoke with District One Commissioner Matt Aitken over the phone about Mitchell and Pinkerton's concerns.

Aitken says this is the first time he's heard of any issues at Cedar Grove. He tells Fox 54 he plans to visit the cemetery this week, possibly as early as Tuesday, to see for himself.

The Parks, Recreation, and Facilities Department did not return Fox 54's phone calls for comment.

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