For 13 years, the family of George E. Johnson visited what they believed was his grave in Hamden Plains Cemetery. But their sense of peace was shattered recently when they found Johnson’s headstone was moved above a new grave.
“I was freaking out,” said Michaela Frasier, Johnson’s niece. “I was hurt. Why would y’all move it after 13 years?”
Johnson accidentally shot himself to death in 2006 leaving behind four children, according to family. Now, their pain and grief has been multiplied many times over after they had Johnson’s grave exhumed only to find his body missing.
“I couldn’t sleep,” Frasier told News 8’s Mario Boone. “I was, like, sick to my stomach. It hurts, it brings back memories,” she explained, with teary eyes.
Problems are not new at Hamden Plains, a resting place now managed by U.S. Cemetery. News 8 has covered many issues here in the past. A spokesman blamed Johnson’s lost body on sloppy record keeping by previous graveyard supervisors.
“If they’re mistaking one person, it might be more out there,” Frasier wondered.
U.S. Cemetery told News 8 they were already digging up four graves in search of Johnson’s body, with at least two more to go.
In a statement the cemetery said, “The last thing we want is for families to be under stress. We are following the paperwork that we inherited from the prior caretaker. We do believe we will find the casket in the area we are digging by next week. We will do everything we can make sure the family can rest at night,” according to Don Romaniello.
“Once they find him that’s when I feel like my family will have peace.”