More neglect complaints filed over the maintenance of the Royal Palm South Cemetery in St. Pete

Owner previously was charged with violations
Posted at 6:14 PM, Nov 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-11 02:06:44-05

Martha Perez says she spent two hours searching a single section of Royal Palm South for two of her family members.

It took the help of a maintenance worker to unearth World War II veteran William Vaughn's resting place. Perez and her husband Max returned with a shovel in search of William's wife Anne. The couple says they found and dug the marker out from under about 8 inches of earth.

The Department of Financial Services charged owner Cliff Work with dozens of violations after an I-Team investigation in 2013. We combed thru recent inspections which the cemetery passed.  But found these visits consist of spot checks not the entire property.

But for the Perez family and a dozen others who've complained to the state since January the conditions constitute neglect.

Love ones also reported a section called the Rose Garden under water for weeks. In an email Beth Davison said her grandparents remains were among those in the flooded area.

We relayed the complaints to the Department of Financial Services which regulates cemeteries and funeral homes.

“The department requires the grounds and grave-sites to be maintained and in good order. If there are consumers that have specific concerns, we encourage them to contact us,”spokesperson Joel Brown said in an email.

We left two messages with owner Cliff Work but he's yet to return our calls. The water that covered the rose garden receded since our visit last month. As for state regulators they tell me they will look into any new complaints that come in.