Local News

Roaches ruin grieving family's Easter visit to Phenix City mausoleum

PHENIX CITY, Ala. (WRBL) - An East Alabama family turns to News 3 for help after a disturbing visit, involving roaches, ruins their Easter Sunday visit to their loved one's final resting place at Lakeview Memory Gardens.

Donnell Shepard's family visits him often at Lakeview's mausoleum. Sunday, they say their Easter visit was ruined when they walked in and saw dead roaches all over the floor and live roaches crawling on the walls. The family took a cell phone video and shared it with News 3.

"The floors were littered with dead roach bugs, and there were still some crawling on the walls," said Joyce Shepard, Donnell's widow.

Joyce Shepard is 85-years-old. She says she cried during her visit because of how unsettling it was to see how disgusting his final resting place was on Easter Sunday.  Shepard's husband passed away in 2016, after 68 years of marriage. He was the love of her life. Her family says their visits to his grave should be a source of comfort, but because of the conditions, they're unsettling and worrisome.
 
"I still miss him very much. To think about roach bugs may be crawling on him, it's disgusting. What bothers me is to think I'm going to be buried there. I don't want those roach bugs still there; I want them gone," Shepard said.

The Shepard family says this is not the first time they've seen roaches covering the floor.  They've complained multiple times to Lakeview. They feel their concerns are being ignored, so they reached out to News 3 for help.  

News 3 reached out to Lakeview and to their owners StoneMor Partners L.P., who released this statement:  

"Lakeview Memory Gardens' mission is to help families memorialize every life with dignity, including providing and maintaining a tranquil and beautiful place for memorialization. Clearly, in this instance, we fell short of our standards. The matter is being addressed, and we want to reassure our families and the local community that we are committed to serving them and their loved ones."
   
The Shepard family says they want someone to step up and do the right thing for their loved one and make Donnell Shepard's final resting place as peaceful as possible. News 3 will keep you updated.
 


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