Families Worry Loved Ones Won't Rest in Peace After Foreclosure

Friday, August 28th 2009, 5:43 pm
By: News 9

By Rusty Surette, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Family members of loved ones buried at a Northeast Oklahoma City cemetery will have to wait a little longer before they learn the fate of the foreclosed property.

Following a foreclosure of the Riverside Gardens Cemetery, families of the dearly departed have spent weeks wondering if the graveyard faces a grim future.

"They still can't rest in peace because you don't know what the final outcome is going to be of this," said Sheila Humphrey who buried her brother in the cemetery last year.

Owners of the Riverside Gardens Cemetery appeared in court Friday to discuss the future of the land in the 4700 block of NE 36th Street.

The hearing was postponed due to a lawsuit recently filed by the defendants who claim First Security Bank & Trust issued the owners of the cemetery a bad title.

"It turns out that half of that land may be owned by the city of Oklahoma City and another party may have a lease on it," said Attorney Stephen Jones who is representing Riverside.

Families who've buried their loved ones at Riverside Gardens had mixed emotions to Friday's hearing.

"That's a lot of pain and suffering worrying because you went through the death and burial of your family member and now you got to worry if they'll rest in peace or not," Humphrey said.

Despite Friday's hearing, families were reassured by both parties that no bodies will be exhumed or moved. However, since there is no way to tell who may own the land in the future, there's no guarantee that'll happen.

"They say it's not up for sale, but there's no reassurance that it won't be up for sale later," Humphrey said. "They keep telling us the land can't be used for anything else other than the cemetery, but we just don't know what is going to happen if somebody else takes over the land."

Attorneys said it could be up to a year and a half before the pending suit actually goes to court.