WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF)
A Wheeling woman says her parents died once, but had to be buried twice.
Bonnie Vosvick says her parents were childhood sweethearts, never separated, except in death.
They bought adjoining cemetery plots years ago in Greenwood Cemetery, and took her there to show her the spot.
“This was going to be their final resting place,” said Vosvick. “It gave them peace, knowing that.”
Her mother died first, in 2021, and was buried there.
Her father died last month, and workers preparing his grave got a shock.
“My sister called me from the funeral home, the day of the burial,” Vosvick recalled. “She said I’m warning you, don’t get freaked out, but when they went to dig Dad’s grave, somebody else was already buried there.”
Vosvick said the cemetery had no records of anyone being buried there.
She said they told her it had to have been before 1975, because that style of vault hasn’t been made since then.
She says they told her they couldn’t legally move the unknown body, so they moved the Vosvicks instead.
And that involved exhuming her mother.
“I just kind of felt like this couldn’t be happening,” she said. “My mom was that close, and I couldn’t touch her.”
Cemetery officials say the Vosvicks bought their plots in a private transaction from the former plot owners, not from the cemetery.
They say anyone who was working there at the time is no longer alive to ask.
They say it was an honest mistake.
They gave the Vosvicks graves in a new section, reinterred them and waived the charges.
Bonnie Vosvick says her parents chose the old section because it was beautiful and because it was near the graves of other family members.
“I know my dad wouldn’t have liked it (the new section),” she noted. “It’s right next to a curb. It’s right next to a road. It’s too open. There’s no trees.”
She said cemetery officials told her this sort of thing never happens.
But she said funeral home employees confided, “it happens quite often.”
She said she was told there is a card inside every coffin with the name of the deceased.
But she says she was told they couldn’t open the unknown person’s vault without a court order.