JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A St. Augustine woman who is dying of cancer recently discovered that the gravesite she purchased back nearly 30 years ago is being used.
On Your Side met Doretha Levins' son, Mack Levins at Georgie's Diner on Monday. Regarding her gravesite at Woodlawn Cemetery, he said "it is being used."
He said his mother purchased the gravesite back in May 1990.
"She wants to be buried next to her husband, but there is a grave on either side that is not possible," he said.
The family is disappointed by this cemetery mix up, but apparently, this is not a first.
"His story is not unusual," said Margaret Logan, who also has loved ones buried at Woodlawn. Logan said it breaks her heart every time she goes there to visit their graves.
"When I pull up,I am just an emotional wreck," she said.
The cemetery reportedly established in the 1920s is in such disrepair. There is overgrown grass and some of the graves appear to be sinking.
Logan leads a community effort to clean up the cemetery, to improve its appearance.
"I try to come out once a month to keep it decent," she said.
Who owns Woodlawn Cemetery?
Arnett Chase of Leo Chase and Associate,s which runs a local funeral home, called it a community cemetery.
He said it was created for people who did not have the money to bury their loved ones.
It was operated by The Woodlawn Cemetery Association, which he said was disbanded years ago.
"We have never owned it," Chase said. "We have tried to keep it up. There is no trust fund."
When asked about Doretha Levins' gravesite, he could not address it specifically.
"By some reason, if someone is buried in her grave site. all she has to do is produce a receipt and we will get her buried," Chase said.
Mark Levins said that is not a problem. He is just disappointed how this cemetery has slipped into its current condition.
"I have the receipt," he said. "It is just wrong what they're doing, burying people on top of people."
The funeral home told Levins they will honor the receipt and the price his mother paid back in 1990.
Levins wants better accountability. He is reaching out to Florida's Funeral, Cemetery, and Consumer Services.
He wants the state to investigate how it is operated and who is responsible for its current condition.