Idaho family plans to sue after loved one was buried in wrong grave

Jun 10, 2024, 8:16 PM | Updated: Jun 11, 2024, 7:02 pm

The family of a Caldwell woman who planned the details of her own funeral discovered she was buried in the incorrect grave when they arrived for the funeral. The city didn't have adequate contact information and had to pick a different spot because of a tree root running through the plot. (KIVI via CNN Newsource)

(KIVI via CNN Newsource)

CNN The family of a Caldwell, Idaho woman who planned the details of her own funeral discovered she was buried in the incorrect grave when they arrived for the funeral. The city didn’t have adequate contact information and had to pick a different spot because of a tree root running through the plot.

“My husband and I come out here, we walk to where she had purchased a grave, there’s no disturbed… there’s no grave. We look around and see a pile of dirt over by the road and we go, ‘Is that mom?’ We knew something was wrong,” Kathy Blume said.

Her mother, Elaine Reese, passed away from terminal cancer in July of 2023.

She didn’t want her family to be left with funeral logistics in their grief so Elaine chose her own burial plot at Canyon Hill Cemetery and made her own funeral arrangements.

But when they arrived for the funeral service the family learned Elaine was not buried in the correct place.

Then a few weeks later

“In the mail, I get a second deed for a second plot. I already had the deed so I called the cemetery. They said ‘Oh I’m so glad you called, we didn’t know how to reach you. Turned out the plot we sold your mom was not a usable plot,'” Kathy said.

Elaine had two wishes for her final resting place: to be under a tree and away from a road.

But proximity to the tree she chose, left the plot unusable with a thick tree root making a burial impossible.

“And I asked ‘Well, where is my mom?’ ‘Well she’s over in that dirt by the road, yeah,'” she said.

By a road

Next to a road.

Something Kathy knew her mom did not want.

The whole ordeal, overwhelming, stressful, and emotional for the family, filing a tort claim with the City of Caldwell in December.

The family attorney says their tort claim was rejected but the City says it resolved that claim by paying for Kathy’s mother to be exhumed and reburied in a more suitable location.

“What was the exhumation process like for you and your siblings and your husband and your grandkids?” I asked.

“Some of them thought it was funny. But I told them, wait a minute, it sounds like joke, you can’t write this but it’s really not a joke.”

We reached out to the city and they told me they didn’t contact Elaine’s family before the original burial because they didn’t have adequate contact information.

“I called the funeral director back and when I told him that they didn’t have any way of reaching me he said, ‘I was standing right there with your folder with your information in it,'” Kathy said.

Despite the city covering costs for Elaine’s exhumation and reburial in a new plot more in line with Elaine’s wishes, the family says they still intend to sue.

“When I was here and they were moving her I felt like I had really let her down by not being here the day they physically buried her,” Kathy said.

KSL 5 TV Live

National News

The family said the doctors told them she may have experienced what is known as a cryptic pregnancy...

Mike Bergazzi , Jon Burkett

Unaware she was pregnant, this mom gave birth at Taco Bell: ‘A miracle, out of nowhere’

A woman was shocked when she went into labor at Taco Bell. She didn't know she was pregnant.

31 minutes ago

FILE: Elected officials and representatives from U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Teams unveil t...

Associated Press

Possible 2026 World Cup training camps may include Salt Lake City or Herriman

Possible team training camps for the 2026 World Cup include a site in Salt Lake City among several other U.S. cities.

5 hours ago

The statue 'Contemplation of Justice' sits above the west front plaza of the U.S. Supreme Court on ...

Mark Sherman

Supreme Court rules California man can’t trademark ‘Trump too small’

The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled against a man who wants to trademark the suggestive phrase “Trump too small.”

6 hours ago

FILE - Boxes of the drug mifepristone sit on a shelf at the West Alabama Women's Center in Tuscaloo...

Mark Sherman

Unanimous Supreme Court preserves access to widely used abortion medication

The Supreme Court has preserved access to a medication that was used in nearly two-thirds of all abortions in the U.S. last year.

6 hours ago

FILE - The 1200 building at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., is seen, Oct. 2...

Terry Spencer, Associated Press

Six years after the Parkland school massacre, the bloodstained building will finally be demolished

The demolition of the building where 17 people died in the 2018 Parkland school shooting is set to begin. Crews will begin tearing down the three-story building at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Friday.

15 hours ago

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (L) and U.S. President Joe Biden shake hands while meeting i...

Fatima Hussein, Associated Press

G7 leaders agree to lend Ukraine billions backed by Russia’s frozen assets. Here’s how it will work

Leaders of the Group of Seven wealthy democracies have agreed to engineer a $50 billion loan to help Ukraine in its fight for survival that would use interest earned on profits from Russia's frozen central bank assets as collateral.

15 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light up your home with these top lighting trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for hassle-free computer repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Idaho family plans to sue after loved one was buried in wrong grave