Township concerned about woman's plan to use old cemetery
Dec. 16, 2017
ROSCOMMON, Mich. (AP) — A northern Michigan township is reluctant to grant a woman's request to bury the cremated remains of her daughter in a cemetery that hasn't been used in almost 100 years.
Amber Skutt's family wants to bury her remains in Pere Cheney Cemetery in Crawford County, where the 25-year-old frequently visited. But local officials are concerned about poor property records and potential vandalism, The Bay City Times reported.
Skutt died in a car crash in April.
"If someone puts a headstone there and it gets ruined, we're going to be liable for it," said Kim Van Nuck, the township's supervisor.
The cemetery has been a target for vandals, and some tombstones have been destroyed or stolen, she said.
Property records aren't clear about where people have been buried. A company would have to be hired to use ground-penetrating radar to determine if a plot is vacant.
Skutt's mother, Christine Prosser, said the family would pay for the service.
"Amber wasn't a religious person, but she was spiritual," Prosser said. "That place was a spiritual escape."
Local officials are concerned about setting a precedent.
"I would be more than happy to let them bury her there. But if we let them and they pay for the radar, we'll be paying for the next one," Van Nuck said.
The cemetery, which has graves of about 90 people, recently received a $500 donation to improve the fence and gate around the property.
The township would like to determine where everyone is buried. It also would like to get more money to improve the grounds. The township has talked to Michigan State University about having students in the forensics program work on the project.
Information from: The Bay City Times, http://www.mlive.com/bay-city