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Haines City searching for owners or family members of unused burial plots at cemetery

The plots were purchased more than 50 years ago
Posted at 8:54 PM, Jul 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-18 03:24:13-04

HAINES CITY, Fla. — Haines City officials are looking for owners or family members of unused burial plots purchased more than 50 years ago.

The city has a list of names from people who purchased plots at Forest Hill Cemetery on East Grace Avenue in Haines City.

The city is looking for updated information on an estimated 365 unused burial plots.

"We're talking about cemetery plots that were purchased prior to December 31, 1968 and we're on a mission to locate the owners of those cemetery plots," said City Clerk Linda Bourgeois.

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The city will transfer ownership of the plots to family members if proof is provided.

"That could be a birth certificate, a death certificate or maybe even an obituary that might list them as a survivor," said Bourgeois.

Forest Hills Cemetery was managed decades ago by a private funeral home. The city took it over in the 1970s.

City officials received records that were handwritten and unclear.

"Sometimes there were no deeds and all we might have is a name and with the name we have no further information so here we are now trying to locate family members," said Bourgeois.

"Our main goal is to make sure they receive the cemetery spaces their family has paid for in the past," she added.

The city has released a list of names of people who purchased plots and have not claimed them.

"We've had calls from Georgia. We've had calls from Illinois. We've had calls from Alabama," said Bourgeois.

The city is required to send a letter to the last known address of the individuals who purchased a plot. The city also posted a notice on the city's website.

If the owner or survivors fail to come forward, the city has the right to sell the plot or put it back into its inventory after 120 days.

"Sometimes owners may be deceased and the families don't know they have a family plot," said Bourgeois.

To claim cemetery spaces please contact the City Clerk's Office at (863) 421-3600 ext. 5114 to schedule an appointment.

Below is the list of names of people who purchased plots but have not claimed them: