Baton Rouge family accuses cemetery of botching burial plans

Four siblings who lost their mother two days before the August flood claim they are reliving the nightmare. Because of the high water, they said their mother's body was never properly laid to rest. Now they said they are not quite sure where it might be.

Lamar and Rochelle Porter admit they have visited Southern Memorial Gardens in Baker frequently since their mom, Diane, died last August, but they said sadly, they have spent more time in the business office than at their late mother's graveside.

Lamar said his mother died of a heart attack on August 11. Because of the flood, he said, her funeral services had to be postponed until August 26. "What we were told, due to the fact that the ground being wet and what happened with Baton Rouge and the flooding, they couldn't dig a hole," Porter said.

According to the deed, the Porters paid just over $1,500 for the burial plot and over $10,000 for funeral services. Lamar said managers at Southern Memorial Gardens told him they would contact him when the soil was prepped for interment, but he said that never happened. Lamar said in October, his sisters started asking questions.

One sister was told that the body was being held in the mausoleum because they hadn't dug the hole yet, and one sister was told they buried her the same day of the funeral. Lamar said his family has yet to get a straight answer, and they will not rest until they do.

"We are trying to figure out why you didn't let us know because you told us that the hole couldn't be dug. If they did it the same day, then they did it without notifying us," Porter said.

While 9News was at the cemetery, a man who identified himself as Ron Cofield, a manager at Southern Memorial Gardens, approached us. He would not answer our questions, only told us to contact the family's attorney.

The Porters said they have not hired an attorney, but they plan to. "Not knowing she's there or not, it's very uncomfortable," Porter said.

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