Buried on Top of Son?

(WSVN) - If burying a child is the worst thing a parent will ever experience, the next possibility for one mother is just unthinkable. She found out that because of a misunderstanding, someone could be buried on top of her son’s remains. It left that mother in a panic — until she brought in Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

It’s a phone call every parent is terrified of getting.

Loulie Gregorie, son was killed: “He just kept saying, ‘Arin is hurt. Arin is hurt.'”

Arin is Loulie’s 14-year-old son, who was hit by a car while crossing the street.

Loulie Gregorie: “All I remember them saying is, ‘We’re trying to stabilize him,’ and I passed out.”

Arin was rushed to the hospital. He did not make it.

Loulie Gregorie: “You understand when they say that that feeling that you get, or that cry you let out, they say that’s the cry of a mother in pain. It is true. I don’t wish that upon nobody.”

Then while trying to cope with that loss, Loulie and her husband had to make funeral arrangements, including buying a grave site.

Loulie Gregorie: “When we went to go make the deal, they said, ‘Listen, it’s buy one, get one free.'”

Loulie was told the cemetery buried one casket on top of the other.

Loulie Gregorie: “So I get four lots for the price of two, and that sounds wonderful. You know, me and my husband will have a spot.”

That was in 2014. Loulie paid $5,400 and still owed around $1,800. She thought she was supposed to pay that when she buried the next family member.

Loulie Gregorie: “I’m guessing around that time, with everything that’s going on, I didn’t grasp everything. That was my mistake, and I admit that.”

Loulie found out she should have been making payments five years later, when she was told she no longer owned the other three grave sites.

Loulie Gregorie: “I said, ‘I have a contract. How can you cancel something without, number one, notifying me?'”

When Loulie didn’t pay the other $1,800, the cemetery cancelled her contract and took back three of the burial plots, including the one on top of Arin.

Loulie Gregorie: “I got livid, and I took a deep breath, and I walked out.”

Loulie later called and said, “Let me pay the $1,800 I owe to get the three plots back,” but the price had gone up.

Loulie Gregorie: “‘What do you mean I owe $12,000?’ He explained to me that he was charging me for four instead of two.”

Loulie doesn’t have $12,000 to buy the other three plots back and is now terrified that someone will buy one plot and bury their loved one on top of Arin.

Loulie Gregorie: “The one on top of him is what I care about. Him and the one above him. I don’t want him to be touched, nor do I want the top part of him to be touched, because that came together.”

Well, Howard, for Loulie, it’s about the graves where Arin is buried. Can the cemetery cancel the contract and take back the three graves without notifying Loulie?

Howard Finkelstein, 7News legal expert: “No, they cannot. Florida tightly regulates the cemetery and funeral industry. In Loulie’s case, it’s what the law calls a pre-need sale, meaning the cemetery has to give you written notice and 30 days to make your payment. Otherwise, they cannot cancel the contract and take the grave sites back.”

Turns out a new company had bought the cemetery.

We spoke to the general manager, and he told us he was not aware of the problem Loulie was having.

He said he would look into it, and then he took care of it.

Loulie told us a new contract was drawn up with the original terms. She is now paying off the $1,800 that was owed, and she got the three grave sites back, including the one on top of Arin.

Loulie Gregorie: “Oh, my God. I’m ecstatic.”

Relieved and happy that she can now can be buried by her son.

Loulie Gregorie: “I’m so happy that you guys took interest in my story — that you guys helped me — because this was such a huge burden on me. I’m so, so grateful to you guys. Thank you. Thank you so much.”

At least we were able to give Loulie something to smile about. Now, you may have noticed Arin’s grave site does not have a headstone. Loulie can’t afford that and is saving the money to buy one for her son. Not only are funerals and burials heartbreaking, they can also be expensive.

Email: helpmehoward@wsvn.com
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
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