Dunn cemetery has overgrown grass and sinking tombs

Josh Chapin Image
Wednesday, July 27, 2022
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A cemetery is supposed to be a place of peace and reflection. But people in Dunn say this cemetery is anything but that.

DUNN, N.C. (WTVD) -- A cemetery is supposed to be a place of peace and reflection.

But people in Dunn say this cemetery is anything but that.

They say the grass is overgrown, some tombs are sinking and the mausoleum smells at the Harnett Devotional Gardens.

"I still like to do this but not like this in the field, not in a cemetery," said Roxie McDonald who is 94 years old.

She was pulling up weeds and scraping dirt off the plaques on the hot summer day we met her.

Her brother and father are buried in the cemetery. She will be buried here someday, too.

"They're supposed to be doing this but it ain't done, so I dunno," she said.

Cheyanne Barefoot is leading the charge for other families whose loved ones are buried here.

Her father and uncle are buried here.

She organized a gathering this past weekend so families could figure out where to go next.

"The whole sidewalk needs replacing," she said. "My dad came out here before he died on his scooter and it threw him to the side because of how bad it is."

Barefoot was hopeful that new ownership would help after the cemetery was bought late last year by Florida-based Faithful Heritage Holdings.

A woman who answered the phone at the company said "I'm not going to tell you anything" and repeated that line before hanging up.

Repeated calls to the local office in Dunn didn't lead anywhere either.

"To come out here and see this grass not cut and not weed-eated and not cleaned up, it's disrespectful to the military," Barefoot said.

ABC11 also reached out to the North Carolina Cemetery Commission as well as Rep. Howard Perry. Neither returned calls as of late Tuesday night.