Family outraged after gravesite damaged in Richmond

RICHMOND, Texas – A family is demanding answers after its loved one's gravesite was damaged.

The Hernandez family said it is having a difficult time getting answers from the cemetery's management.

People visit the cemetery in Richmond every day to remember their loved ones, but when the Hernandezes came to visit their mother's gravesite on her birthday, they made a discovery that, they said, made them relive the pain of her death two decades ago.

"This is all we have of her left and it's sacred to us," the woman's son, Ruben Hernandez, said.

Imagine Hernandez's surprise and sadness on Saturday when his family discovered his mother's gravesite of more than 20 years had been buried in dirt and her steel-crafted grave marker had been broken apart.

The family took photos of the damage.

"When we found it, this piece was 3 feet, 4 feet back there," Ruben said while pointing at a photo.

"You couldn't even see the border. There was a mound of dirt here with all the flowers that we had planted here," Rachel Guerrero-Hernandez, the woman's daughter-in-law, said.

The Hernandez family said it spotted damage to other gravesites as well, and when family members contacted the San Gabriel Cemetery Association, they were told they were on their own.

The association had no comment for KPRC2, but the signs outside the cemetery say members are responsible for their gravesite maintenance, in addition to a $150 annual maintenance fee.

Hernandez said seeing the damage takes him back to the pain he felt on the day his mother was buried.

"We didn't have much, but she made it work and I think that's what really bothers me the most. It's just disrespect," he said.

Yolanda Balarrama Gallegos was a single mother who raised seven children. Her children remember her as a hardworking woman who loved life.

What they want, 20 years after her death, is an explanation for the damage to her gravesite and repairs made to her final resting place.

"We just want to see what's going to happen and if they can replace it. That's all I really want," Hernandez said.