Woman caught in burial plot confusion - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Woman caught in burial plot confusion

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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

A Montgomery woman claims she was forced to buy another burial plot because someone else is buried in the spot she says was meant for her husband.  The plot in question is at Montgomery's Oakwood Cemetery Annex - which is currently in receivership.

"I didn't know where I was going to bury him," said Emma Smith, whose husband, Henry, was supposed to be buried at Oakwood Annex.  "So I was hurt because he was dead and I was hurt because I didn't know where I was going to bury him."

Smith said the burial plots at the Oakwood Annex were purchased more than 20 years ago. After a visit to the site in 2010, they discovered someone else is buried in the plot where Henry Smith was supposed to be.  Smith died from cancer in November 2012, with the question of where he would be buried left unsettled.

"It hurt so bad, because when you done worked all your life," Smith said. "Thinking that you have a place to go and rest, and you don't have a place to go and rest."

Oakwood Cemetery Annex has been in receivership since 2004 - and is currently owned by the state Department of Insurance.  The department hasn't sold any new plots since it took over, according to Denise Azar, Chief Receiver for the Department of Insurance. It's unclear whether any other open plots exist in the cemetery.  So that's another reason why Emma Smith had to look elsewhere to bury her husband, which she eventually did.

"My savings, all of my little borrowed here and there, it's gone," Smith said. "I've gone though it so much. My husband is not far from me, and he's at rest. I definitely wouldn't want him up from there and put over here."

The state is looking into the situation.  Emma Smith said the situation has been very stressful, and would at least like to have her money back. 

Copyright 2013 WSFA 12 News.  All rights reserved.

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