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Casa Grande families wish for more notice on cemetery decoration removal

Posted at 9:01 PM, Apr 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-30 01:12:47-04

CASA GRANDE — Some family members of loved ones buried at Casa Grande Cemetery felt there wasn't adequate notice for removal of decorations on grave sites.

At the Mountain View Cemetery in Casa Grande, Alex McCaslin regularly comes and visits those she's laid to rest. Recently, she's noticed more changes to the headstones than she'd like.

Between in-laws and immediate family members, she has eight loved ones throughout the cemetery, some of which are service members.

Some of her family buried sooner than expected, like her son John Issac McCaslin the Second, who died at just 22-years-old in a motorcycle crash.

Over the headstone, she says she placed a hook that was her late grandmother's and a lantern "because he loved the Green Lantern," but it was recently removed, she says, by staff.

Flowers, hats, memorabilia, crosses and candles were placed in a corner of the cemetery with other families' decorations — some wrapped in plastic bags.

"They didn't just take a sentimental item but they took a religious item from us," said McCaslin.

Photo courtesy of Alex McCaslin.

"All this stuff they threw away was sentimental things that belonged to loved ones," said Amber Tellez.

Tellez has generations of family buried throughout the cemetery.

"All the grieving we're doing to bury our loved ones, it's heartache," she said.

ABC15 took these concerns to Janet Warren, one of the cemetery owners who spoke on the phone several times Friday.

She said when decorations start to accumulate, wind blows them around the cemetery and that too, has led to separate family complaints.

She said some decorations were from holidays long past.

Their rules state these items need to be removed after holidays or staff will remove them.

Other key rules include: No glass items and nothing on the grass so staff can clean, sanitize and mow.

Warren said she posted those rules and regulations at the cemetery and also in a local paper.

Photo courtesy of Janet Warren.

Some families said that wasn't enough notice and they'd like to be notified on social media.

"Nobody saw any documentation at the cemetery at all," said Tellez.

Warren said clean up has been paused until next Monday to allow families more time to gather any items or decorations left at the cemetery.

She declined to be interviewed, but stressed the cemetery is trying to do the right thing and to be fair with all families.