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Rittman Cemetery accused of moving or breaking family memorials from gravesites

Updated: Jun. 17, 2021 at 8:16 PM EDT
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thousands buried there
thousands buried there(Rittman, Ohio)

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) -You bury your loved ones hoping the pain will go away, but what about when the cemetery gives you headaches over memorials you leave there to honor them.

“This is a lamb that was on my brother-in-law, PJ’s grave.

PJ was only 5-months old when he died. He’s buried in the Rittman Cemetery in a grave plot marked by a headstone, a small concrete lamb at one point. Pastor Mike Sollar and his wife’s family are upset that the cemetery removed this baby lamb…an ornament in his honor… without their permission.

“This laid on his grave for over 20 years. They took it off, threw it behind a building, broke a leg on it. We had to go behind the fence to even find where this thing was.”

That’s not their only complaint.

“Our concern now is they’re taking things that are brand new off the graves. They’re throwing them in the building.”

Kathy Kellough knows the rules about the removal of things left too long, but she’s a mother with a child buried at Rittman.

“When they mow, they don’t watch what they’re doing. They run over things; they break them. I had an angel teddy bear sitting on my son’s grave. I could tell it was from a lawnmower because the leg was broke on it, and grass was all up inside of it.”

It’s a city-owned cemetery. So 19 News went to city hall for answers. It was closed and only open by appointment. I decided to call, knock and ring the doorbell. A nice lady came to the door.

Reporter: “You guys run or own the Rittman Cemetery? Rittman City Hall employee: That’s is our responsibility. Reporter: We just talked to a family up there who is concerned that some of their headstones or things they leave up on the grave have been moved or just kids of tossed, and they’re very concerned about that. Is there anybody here who can talk with me about that? Rittman City Hall employee: That would be the city manager, and she’s not here right now.”

As for the family…..”We complained to the city, and it went about as far as the asphalt down there. They wouldn’t do nothing.”

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