Family filing lawsuit over grave site that was already occupied

GLASGOW, W.Va. — A Kanawha County family wants to find out who was buried in a grave the family purchased more than 40 years ago at a Kanawha County cemetery.

Ron Walters, Jr.

Norlena Mae Bess is filing a lawsuit against the owners of Kanawha Valley Memorial Gardens at Glasgow after someone else found in the burial plot that she owned with her husband, Barry Bess who died in March.

Bess family attorney, Ron Walters, Jr., said Tuesday that when the cemetery crew began digging on the plot following Barry Bess’ death they found someone else was buried there.

“When they were digging the grave that somebody else had been buried in Barry’s grave, an unknown person,” Walters said.

Barry and Norlena Bess purchased plots with Barry’s parents William and Nancy Bess in 1977. Barry Bess’ mother and father were buried in 2008 and 2013.

“The corporate owner of the cemetery has provided mixed messages over whether the company knows whose body is in the grave and has failed on at least two occasions to offer a shred of evidence that the identity is known,” Walters said. “The family further is troubled that the cemetery has been reported in the past to have been the scene of illicit drug activity. We believe that, not only is this lawsuit warranted, but so is an investigation by the State Police and the Attorney General’s Office.”

Walters said the cemetery also hasn’t provided the right kind of grave markers for the family that were previously paid for. He said the Bess family deserves better.

“It’s probably the most vulnerable part in your life to bury a loved one,” Walters said. “An interruption of a family plan is just heart-breaking. This is their final and eternal resting place.”

The lawsuit alleges breach of contract, negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, trespass, fraud, and grave desecration.

The lawsuit is being filed against Stonemor Partner, L.P., which does business as Cornerstone Family Services of West Virginia, LLC, which is the corporate owner of Kanawha Valley Memorial Gardens.





More News

News
VP Pence set for covid response discussion and fundraiser events at The Greenbrier
Pence will return to Washington after events in West Virginia.
August 15, 2020 - 10:56 am
News
Kentucky man sentenced for role in McDowell County murder
Larry McClure admitted to the torture and killing of his daughter's boyfriend in McDowell County
August 15, 2020 - 10:51 am
News
State Census Commission looking at response strategies as deadline nears
Self-response deadline is the end of September.
August 15, 2020 - 10:51 am
News
Volunteer firefighter charged with hit and run
Brooke County Sheriff's Department says a fireman headed to a call struck a man directing traffic near the fire scene--but failed to render aid and kept on going.
August 15, 2020 - 10:41 am