LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Shanelle Allen is finding it even more difficult lately to visit her son's gravesite.
"You can go to other cemeteries, and it's nice and beautiful," she said from Cove Haven Cemetery in Lexington on Monday.
Shanelle says artificial flowers are being mowed over by maintenance crews and headstones are being knocked over and left that way. And the windchime she had left on her son's headstone was removed.
"It represented me and my four children, my boyfriend and my granddaughter," she said of the windchime. Its disappearance, she said, was terribly upsetting.
Shanelle said she has a hard time getting answers from cemetery personnel, only speaking with someone if they happen to be on the grounds while she's making over her visits. LEX 18 also placed a call to the cemetery, but that led to a number that is no longer in service.
Allen's son, Markel, was shot and killed in Lexington in February. She brought him here because his grandfather, who had passed one month earlier, was buried nearby. She's already having regrets about that decision.
"I just wish I made a better choice and put my son somewhere else instead of here," she said.
When you walk the grounds here, the problems Shanelle highlighted are apparent. A few headstones are turned over, and several have grass shavings caked on the front, thus blocking out the engraving. And those artificial flowers are scattered in pieces across many areas.
"We're already hurting because we have to come here, and then to see them destroy our decorations is even more heartbreaking," she said.
Shanelle and her boyfriend are now taking care of the area around Markel's gravesite. They'll mow the lawn and clean up as needed.
"It's very disrespectful to everyone," she said of the lack of care on what most believe to be sacred ground.