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Wednesday, June 19, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Mother Says Cemetery Botched Baby’s Burial

(CN) - The family of an infant who died shortly after her birth claims in court a Virginia cemetery compounded their grief by burying the child upside down in a shallow grave that allowed her coffin to be flooded by rain and ground water.

In a lawsuit filed in the City of Richmond, Va. circuit court on October 8, Maribel Ramirez says she gave birth to a daughter, Kathryn H. Lopez Sanchez on Nov. 11, 2013, but that the little girl died days later due to unspecified "complications."

Ramirez says she and her family made arrangements for Kathryn to be buried in the Greenwood Memorial Gardens in Richmond.

On January 20, 2015, Eusebio Sanchez, Kathryn's father, went to visit his daughter's grave to place a headstone. It was only then, the complaint says, that the family learned the girl's burial was carried out, "in a negligent, reckless, and willful and wanton manner."

"Sanchez was buried in a shallow grave, only two to three inches underground. The headstone would not fit in the designated area," the complaint says.

Under the circumstances, the family was forced to have Kathryn's casket removed from the ground and reinterred.

"At this time it was discovered that Kathryn H. Lopez Sanchez's casket had been negligently buried upside down," the complaint says. "Furthermore, the casket, due to it being upside down, was filled with water. Plaintiff could see water coming out of the sides of her daughter's casket as it was pulled out of the ground."

"The re-burial required the removal of the casket from the ground for over an hour while the grave diggers dug the proper depth. During this time, the family had to sit next to their disinterred child on a hot, muggy summer day ..." the compliant continues. "Plaintiff was obligated to rebury her daughter in the water filled casket and in her current upside down state to avoid further emotional distress."

Ramirez seeks $250,000 in damages on multiple claims of negligence.

She is represented by Casey Arial and Brody Reid of Reid Goodwin in Richmond.

Representative of the defendants could not be reached for comment.

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