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Heavy machinery drives over grave sites, creates muddy mess

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BATON ROUGE - A disturbing find at a cemetery in Baton Rouge. A man with a loved one buried at Roselawn Memorial Park is outraged at what he found.

Buddy Berry says feet from his mother's resting place, tractors drove right over grave sites and headstones, some stones were driven into the ground and are now surrounded by a muddy rut collecting a pool of water.

"But here they ran all over the graves," he said. "They're deep, they rolled over the headstones, they've pushed headstones deep in the mud."

It's the total disregard for this cemetery, where families have been burying their loved ones for nearly a century, that has him so angry.

"I'm really mad, I can't use the words I really want to use," said Berry.

At first, Berry says he thought kids had gone for a joy ride, but as he got closer he saw the tractor tire marks.

"Which led me to believe that the people working at the cemetery actually drove over and through these graves," he said.

A cemetery manager visited the 2 On Your Side crew when they arrived to speak with Berry. She confirmed the ruts were made by the grounds crew as they prepared to dig a new grave nearby. The manager told WBRZ three different machines were working when it happened and while the cemetery is aware of the issue, there's not much that can be done because the ground is so wet.

The tracks come from multiple angles, disturbing history that's been laid to rest. The headstone of Lelia Cain, wife of C. G. Steadman and laid to rest in 1926, has been driven into the mud.

"These are people's families," said Berry. "They were put here and in the care of this cemetery."

Berry questions that level of care that's been tending to families for centuries.

"The people that deserve the apology are the families of these people, not me," he said.

Roselawn Memorial Park says it plans to patch the disturbed area as soon as the ground dries. Monday, 2 On Your Side asked the cemetery management if it had a plan to prevent something like this from happening in the future. While management says it has done some research in the past, it could not provide an immediate solution.

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