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Loved one exhumed, moved to new cemetery

(WPMI) Loved one exhumed, moved to new cemetery
(WPMI) Loved one exhumed, moved to new cemetery

Brand new developments in NBC 15's investigation into a local cemetery.

Heritage Memorial Gardens cemetery in Eight Mile is under criminal and civil investigation.

For more than a year, family members have pleaded to have their loved ones removed.

Today, for the Dortch family, that finally happened.

NBC 15's Rachael Wilkerson has led our investigation.

Tamara Dortch's body was moved from Heritage Memorial Gardens across the street to Whispering Pines.

Her mother has been fighting to have her moved since 2019. Today was the moment she was waiting for.

As the excavator piled up the dirt, Angela Dortch held back tears of joy while watching crews exhume her baby girl, Tamara.

It's been a long journey for Dortch.

Her daughter died March 23rd, 2019, and was buried, at Heritage Memorial Gardens, not the final resting place she had chosen. She ended up filing a lawsuit.

In the suit, her attorney Brian Murphy said this was an improper burial site that he says "is prone to flooding and an unsuitable place to bury humans."

The suit also said that because of that negligence, Dortch, "suffered injuries and damages including emotional distress and mental anguish."

"I am disgusted, and I am so upset right now, and I am hurt," said Dortch after a Prichard court appearance.

We told Dortch's story every step of the way, from painfully sitting in Prichard and Mobile courtrooms waiting to protest down Cheeseman Avenue to have her daughter removed.

"No justice, no peace," she shouted.

In December of 2020, she and her attorney settled with Memorial Funeral Home, Cederick McMillan, and New Birth Community Church.

Removing her daughter's body was part of a separate agreement with Joseph Bonner, another man at the center of the cemetery investigation.

Today was the victory Dortch has been praying for. Her daughter moved to a proper resting place so her children and family can visit in peace, and her aching heart can finally heal.

"Well, that was a long time coming, and I am done, and I thank God for it. She is in her final resting place, and I am happy for that," said Dortch.

Heritage Memorial Gardens is still under court order. No new activity is allowed, and family members still only have limited access to the property.

The judge granted access for the exhumation.