Grave mistake: Another body buried in woman's plot

Milford grave mistake.

MIAMI TOWNSHIP, OH (FOX19) - Imagine going to a funeral for a family member and being told that someone else is buried in the plot you bought for family member.

That's what one Eastside family has encountered and it's a problem that's not easy to solve.

In 1991, Carl Perry was buried at Graceland Memorial Gardens in Miami Township, Clermont County. At the time, the family decided to buy the plot next to him for his wife, Ona, in preparation for the future. Last week, she passed away and when family members went to her wake Thursday, they were informed that another body was found when the cemetery crew dug the hole where Ona's body was supposed to be buried.

"About twenty minutes into the grieving part when everyone else was coming in, the whispers started going around that a Tufts Funeral Home employee had received a phone call from Graceland Memorial stating that when they went to dig my grandmother's grave they unearthed another person that had been buried there," said Melissa Chambers, the granddaughter of Ona Perry.

The body was that of Anna Ruth Chapman, who was buried there in 1980. Cemetery officials say that was 24 years before they bought the cemetery. They also say they've tried to contact the Chapman's family but haven't been able to do so.

So, what do they do now? There appears to only be two options. One option would be to exhume Perry and move him to another spot and then bury his wife next to him there. The other option being to ask if anyone is willing to sell their plots next to him.

"They're unacceptable. My grandmother purchased her plot next to my grandfather when he passed away," said Chambers. "There were specific instructions as to where she was supposed to be laid to rest and my grandfather laid to rest. None of that's been met."

When cemetery officials went to dig up Chapman's casket, they said it was impossible because it was made of wood. They also said they're open to any suggestions but don't know of any other options.

"We bought the cemetery in 2004. When any issues come up we work to solve those issues. We feel terrible about this and want to make this situation right and take care of this for the Perry family. We understand it's a very sensitive and emotional situation," said Jason Bonomo, Regional Manager for Graceland Memorial Gardens, in a statement.

Bonomo also told FOX19 News that he will do whatever the family wants and won't charge them anything. No decision has been made yet. The body of Ono Perry remains at the funeral home.

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