Family says company bulldozed graves

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News 12 at 11 o'clock, April 16, 2008

AUGUSTA, Ga.---A graveyard is supposed to be a place to honor loved ones, but one family says their family's cemetery is being destroyed and taken over.

"It's all family, every bit of it's all family. It's just a regular family cemetery," Mary Cain says of the Anderson Cemetery on Pleasant Home Road.

It's where her parents, her siblings, and her ancestors are, and it's where she and her daughters plan to be buried. But she worries that may never happen.

"Just a bunch of thieves come in. For the love of money's the root of all evil and...somebody's gonna answer it to God," she said.

She and her daughters say a construction company is moving in on their cemetery. That's why they've been sitting and watching, making sure they don't.

"I found a bone the last time they came through here," said one daughter, Deronda Templeton. She says an area in the back of the cemetery has unmarked graves. She says it's their land, but the company doesn't seem to know it.

"They've totally been destroyed, bulldozed over and put in a pile and hauled off," she said.

They say the cemetery should span over two acres, but its been cut down to about three-quarters of an acre.

"No respect for the dead whatsoever," she said.

The family says an e-mail shows there should be a fifty-foot buffer zone between the cemetery and construction, but they say the company has come within two feet.

"I can't believe that people do that. That they have no feelings for other people," Templeton said.

Cain says she'll do what she can, but in the end it's out of her hands.

"God is still in control. I don't care what the devil may do, the devil may try to steal this that and the other but he knows his days are numbered," Cain said.

The family says they won't fully rest in peace until their loved ones can.

Columbia County Building, Commercial, and Engineering Services has ordered the construction company involved to stop construction by the cemetery until the matter is resolved.

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