Family hopes to find relative in newly discovered graveyard

May 18, 2012 9:46:59 AM PDT
In the South Bay, a hearing is scheduled for Friday to determine what should be done with nearly 1,500 graves unearthed during construction at Valley Medical Center. One woman is hoping to find her grandmother among those remains.

Gloria Jabaut knows finding her grandmother's remains would be a long shot. The county wants to bring up only 100 of those graves, but after a century-long saga, it would be nice to find her.

"My mother's dearest wish and goal was to some day bury her mother," said Gloria Jabaut.

Jabaut hopes to fulfill that wish now that Valley Medical Center has excavated what used to be a cemetery. Jabaut's grandmother, Anna Cardenas, died at the hospital in 1915 when it was the Santa Clara County Hospital.

"Her husband, my grandfather, and my mother being the eldest child, just simply did not have the money to send her over and to bury her at the Catholic cemetery," said Jabaut.

So Cardenas was buried in the hospital's cemetery. Years later, the family heard the bodies had been moved to other cemeteries for hospital expansion, but they couldn't find her. They assumed she was still buried at the hospital, not knowing the cemetery had been turned into a parking lot.

In 1970, Jabaut's mother finally had the money to bury Cardenas. She went back to the hospital.

"They said, 'There's no such cemetery, there's never been a cemetery, we don't know what you're talking about,'" said Jabaut.

The family let it rest, until this new discovery.

"When this came out, they excavated and they found all those bodies, I knew, I knew one of them was my grandmother," said Jabaut.

We'll know more on Friday, but the county wants to open 100 coffins to see if it leads to a family. If it doesn't, they will cremate them and continue to look. Either way, Jabaut would just like a memorial for her grandmother.

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