Bay Area families 'hurt' and 'disgusted' after cemetery clears flowers, belongings from gravesites

HAYWARD, Calif. (KGO) -- Bay Area families whose loved ones are buried at Chapel of the Chimes cemetery in Hayward are outraged after they say the cemetery cleared flowers and other belongings from hundreds of gravesites without sufficient notice.

Piles of flowers and other mementos thrown on the dirt. Families sent us these videos after they learned Chapel of the Chimes Cemetery in Hayward had done a clean up of gravesites.

"I was just hurt and disgusted," said Victoria Davis.

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Davis' sister passed away in December.

"My whole world came crashing down, she's my oldest sister, I don't know, I didn't know life without her and this is one of the hardest things that I've ever had to deal with," said Davis.

Davis' family lives in the Bay Area while she lives in Chicago. She says the cemetery never directly notified them.

"It's 2021 there's more than enough ways to notify people of important changes like that," said Davis.

The cemetery's General Manager tells ABC7 News Chapel of the Chimes strives to maintain the aesthetics and dignity of the park for the benefit of families and guests.

In an emailed statement writing in part quote, "Our cleanup followed many communications throughout the summer."

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The General Manager did not say what those communications were or how they were made. Davis says she has since learned there were fliers put up around the cemetery.

"If notices were distributed in an effective manner then there wouldn't be hundreds of people mad right now with the fact that their loved ones gravesites were just desecrated," said Davis.

Fernando Ibarra says his family wasn't notified either.

"I thought I was angry, but really I was hurt I was just really, really upset," said Ibarra.

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"They don't understand the pain that they caused," he continued.

Ibarra's mother lost her battle with cancer in 2019.

"I would have never left these things if I knew somebody was going to be touching these things and throwing them away like it's trash," said Ibarra.

Here is the full statement from William Patterson, General Manager at Chapel of the Chimes-Hayward.

"Chapel of the Chimes strives to maintain the aesthetics and dignity of our park for the benefit of our families and guests. We maintain rules for such purpose for the benefit of all. Our cleanup followed many communications throughout the summer. We sincerely regret that our efforts upset any family."

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