‘They’re disrespecting us,’ say sisters who found mother’s grave flooded

CHICAGO (WBBM/CNN) - Two sisters in Chicago are upset over the poor condition of their mother's grave at a historic cemetery.

It’s been an ordeal for sisters Marlin Howell and Wanda Howell Denton.

The sisters say every time they go to visit Oak Woods Cemetery, either they can’t get in, or the ground is flooded.

“What is Oak Woods Cemetery about? How do they treat patrons?” said Wanda Howell Denton, whose mother is buried at the cemetery.

Little more than a week ago, they buried their mother Gwendolyn at the Oak Woods Cemetery in a grave they call deplorable, surrounded by pools of flood water.

The Howell sisters buried their mother at the Oak Wood Cemetery recently. They are now regretting the decision.
The Howell sisters buried their mother at the Oak Wood Cemetery recently. They are now regretting the decision. (Source: WBBN/CNN)

“They buried my mother in a mud-ridden sink hole and wanted us to stand there and witness that. And not complain,” Marlin Howell said.

"I don't sleep, I don't eat," said Rashell Bowman, whose son is buried at the cemetery.

"I said, ‘Oh my God. They've not done it just to me, they've done it to somebody else,’" said Marlin Howell.

Adding to her misery, the cemetery locked them out Tuesday.

Even a funeral procession couldn't get in, nor could Wendy Jenkins on her mother's birthday.

"I was coming here to decorate my mom's grave site for her birthday,” she said. “Today is her birthday. I think it's crazy."

Oak Woods offered no explanation to any of the loved ones outside the gates.

“Again, they are disrespecting us and disrespecting my mother’s remains,” said Marlin Howell. “And not allowing us to come into a place in which our mother has purchased graves.”

"Our mother would have never in 2007 bought these four plots if she had known that they would have treated her remains and her grieving family in this manner,” Wanda Howell said. “She would have never done that. Never."

The cemetery said it locked the gates because heavy rainfall has caused pooling and the cemetery wants to keep patrons and workers safe.

Meantime, Wanda and Marlin Howell want their mother’s remains moved from the cemetery.

The cemetery said it is working to resolve the situation.

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