Family upset after Terrell Co. grave floods

Family upset after Terrell Co. grave floods
Valneka Pearman
Valneka Pearman

DAWSON, GA (WALB) - A South Georgia family is upset, after discovering their mother's casket and vault floated out of her grave.

The funeral home director says he did nothing wrong, and that the heavy rains were to blame.  The family disagrees. 

Workers at the Sardis Cemetery in Dawson pump water from the now empty grave of Mary Alice Nelson.  Her vault and casket were pushed out of the ground by water, lifting the concrete slab on top of the ground.

Her grand daughter Valneka Pearman says the large family is upset. Nelson's granddaughter said "Really two months since we buried her and now we are having to relive the situation. Not only are we having to relive it, but now it's worse."

Mary Nelson was a mother of 9, who died September 4. She was buried by Albritten Funeral Service alongside other family members at Sardis cemetery.

Robert Albritten opened Nelson's casket and the family said found her body wet and moldy.  "You could literally lift her up and it was water underneath her. I myself have never heard of anything like that," Pearman said.

When the pump was turned off, the empty grave quickly started filling with water again. They don't believe the vault or casket had been sealed correctly or buried deep enough.

Pearman said "We just want her buried in a proper area, out there to where we don't have to worry every time if it rains, is it going to push her up again."

I spoke with Robert Albritten on the phone, and he said he would replace the casket and vault, and rebury Nelson anywhere in the cemetery the family requested at no extra cost, to make it right for Mary Nelson's family.

Albritten told me he did nothing wrong. That the plot is in the lowest spot in the cemetery and it was an act of God, all that rain. The family has their doubts, and say they are very upset, not sure of their future plans today.

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