City takes responsibility for stripping items from infant's grave

Last weekend, Racheal Penaloza visited her son Joseph's gravesite at Evergreen Cemetery only to find it stripped, missing turf, and several decorative items she regularly leaves. The city has taken responsibility for it.

"You ruined it. It will never be the same no matter what items you throw in," said Penaloza.

Penaloza says the city told her they removed the items for two main reasons one, they had a new burial right above her son's. "The manager I'm talking to she said looking at the picture, my son was over into another space. I'm looking at it in person and I can clearly see there is a space in between my son and the new burial that the dirt wasn't even disturbed. So to me, her saying that it was the reasoning, to me it's not the truth," said Penaloza.

Also, she says the cemetery told her there were new rules and regulations put in place that do not let her have the items she had there.  "We aren't able to have the turf anymore and we are not able to have the fence. I've had that up since 2012," said Penaloza.

The Austin Parks and Recreation Department released a statement to us that reads in part:  

"Upon notification, PARD Cemeteries reached out to Mrs. Penaloza to address and resolve the issue as PARD takes the sensitive nature of burial plots seriously. PARD apologized to Mrs. Penaloza for the communication issue."

"If there was that communication in the beginning, it would not have lead up to these events. My message to the city would be to treat others the way you would like your family to be treated," said Penaloza.



Mother searching for answers after infant son’s grave desecrated twice