Family of eroded gravesite concerned for visitors to cemetery

MANITOWOC – Knollwood Memorial Park tells the family of a loved one buried in the cemetery that steps are being taken to drain and re-dig her grave that erupted over the weekend.

A casket, sealed inside a cement vault, floated to the top of a grave due to flooding in the cemetery. Eighty-one-year-old Elise Jean Kanugh was buried there back in February.

Kanugh’s two sons tell FOX 11 the cemetery had trouble digging the grave due to the frozen conditions back in February. Cemetery workers indicated it is possible the grave was not dug to the normal depth of six feet because of the rock hard soil. That scenario was offered as a possible reason why flooding in the cemetery may have caused the vault to rise up out of the ground.

The cemetery contacted one of Kanugh’s two sons to alert him to the situation and efforts being made to re-dig the grave.

FOX 11 spoke with both sons who expressed their thanks for being kept informed about the grave and the flooding problem in the cemetery.

“I do appreciate your interest in the story. I’m sure she’s not the only one there. There’s got to be others, recent ones I would think,” said Michael Kanugh of New Berlin, wondering if other graves were impacted too.

Monday cemetery officials indicated there were no other vaults that were disturbed by the heavy weekend rains and standing water.

FOX 11 was told a similar incident involving a buried vault happened previously. Cemetery workers say they have taken steps in the past to prevent water from collecting by digging ditches and installing drain tiles. But over the weekend heavy rains left many graves under water.

Kanugh’s son Anthony, living in Amery, is concerned about visitors to the cemetery, as well as the reputation of the cemetery.

“People go out there to visit, especially on Memorial Day. If they have issues like that and they don’t take care of it, you know, it’s going to be on them. They will lose business and people will complain then,” said Anthony Kanugh, Kanugh’s son living in Amery.

Calls to the cemetery Tuesday afternoon for an update were not returned.

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