COCOA, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - Some families are outraged after learning that mementos left behind at Brevard Memorial Park in Cocoa were ot where they were originally placed and scattered in a pile.
Victoria Jacobson had a hard time looking at a photograph of small angel and cherub statues gathered next to a wall.
“People leave things there all the time, and they just decided -- the people that take care of the cemetery -- they just decided to go and take everyone’s stuff," she said. "If it wasn’t a flower in a vase in the ground, it was gone. All the children’s things they left for their parents, gone. All the statues that people spent good money on for the plots are gone. It’s all gone. They just picked it up and put it in a pile of broken stuff.”
According to a spokesperson for Brevard Memorial Park, during Hurricane Matthew, flowers and mementos were blown around.
“To restore the park to a beautiful and peaceful environment, we gathered and bagged the scattered mementos for families to identify and retrieve,” read a statement released by the cemetery.
According to that statement, it’s their policy to remove items that could present a safety issue for visitors and workers. That’s not the way Jacobson sees it. She lost her husband, Miles, in January. He’s buried at the cemetery.
“People go through enough, losing a loved one. Then going and giving them stuff and visiting them is hard enough, and then to see all the stuff they left in their trash pile, that’s messed up,” Jacobson said.
She is thankful that she was able to grab everything she and her family had left at the grave site shortly before Hurricane Matthew hit.
“It was completely last-minute. My sister-in-law called and said, 'Are you going to get the stuff?' and I was like, 'Oh my gosh!' I completely forgot. I was boarding up my windows. Right in the rain, we went and got the stuff and went home,” said Jacobson.
She feels for other mourners she has met while visiting her husband's grave.
The spokesperson for Brevard Memorial Park says they keep all removed items for a reasonable period of time for any family who wishes to retrieve an item. Brevard Memorial Park says that it was never their intention to “upset or offend” any clients.