RICHMOND COUNTY, GA (WFXG) - The Richmond County Marshal’s and Coroner’s Offices are working to find the graves for over 100 grave markers found inside an abandoned funeral home in Augusta.
On May 18, the Marshal’s Office was on scene at the abandoned Dent Funeral Home at 930 D’Antignac St. as the Augusta Landbank Authority was showing the property to investors from Atlanta. While clearing the building, a deputy discovered a large group of packages covered by blankets and trash. The packages turned out to be approximately 130 bronze and marble grave markers. Richmond County Coroner, Mark Bowen, said, “Homeless people have been living (in Dent Funeral Home) and tearing it up on the inside and there’s trash piled up everywhere. I’m surprised they’re in the shape they’re in. Even though they’ve got some dirt on them, they’re fairly good.” The Marshal’s Office says the markers all appeared to belong to veterans and were inscribed with names, ranks, and dates of birth and death. The dates of death range from 1969-2005, as far as the coroner has seen so far.
The Coroner’s Office was called in to investigate. The grave markers have all been moved to the Coroner’s Office while they work to find the graves where they belong. Bowen said, “These men fought for our country. It’s theirs. They deserve to have it on their grave.” Coroner Bowen said he was able to find and place one grave marker already. That person died in 1999.
There could be a multitude of reasons as to why these grave markers were not placed. They could have been too expensive for families to pick up, or could be duplicates. Coroner Bowen does not believe these to be duplicates, as he found one empty grave already. However, as the investigation is ongoing, the reason behind these grave markers will find light.