Consumerwatch Helps Fix “Grave Mistake”

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The mistaken headstone at the Hills of Eternity Cemetery in Colma

The mistaken headstone at the Hills of Eternity Cemetery in Colma

COLMA (BCN) – It’s difficult for Renee Sallein-Roehm to visit her parents’ grave at the Hills of Eternity Cemetery in Colma.

There’s a mistake on her parents’ headstone. It’s been wrong for more than a decade, but no one realized it until last summer.

“This is just wrong. It’s just wrong,” Sallein-Roehm said during a recent visit to the cemetery.

Sallein-Roehm’s father, Arno Sallein, is buried on the right side of the double plot. But the Holocaust survivor’s inscription is on the left side of the double headstone at the gravesite.

“Most troubling for me is knowing that my mom and my sister was crying over this side, and he wasn’t even on this side,” Sallein-Roehm told Consumerwatch.

Just as troubling was how the problem came to light. Sallein-Roehm said the cemetery uncovered the mistake as it was preparing to bury her mother last summer.

“We had no idea until the night before we buried my mother. I got a call from Hills of Eternity saying there’s been a mix-up,” she says.

So while the grieving family watched, Arno Saline’s widow was buried on the left side of the double plot under her husband’s inscription.

Neither the cemetery, “Hills of Eternity Cemetery” nor “Art in Stone,” the company that made the monument would appear on camera. But each said, the other company should have caught the mistake.

The cemetery and the monument company also both said the Saline family bears some responsibility because the family approved the final design.

“We just figured they knew. I didn’t know we were supposed to know what side they were on. I didn’t think that was our responsibility,” Sallein said. “We thought two reputable companies would at least talk to each other before they did it incorrectly.”

It has become a painful situation that is keeping this family from resting in peace.

“I just hope this never happens to anyone else,” Sallein said.

Once ConsumerWatch became involved, the monument company and the cemetery agreed to split the cost by turning the stone, and re-engraving it correctly so it can accurately reflect where each person is buried. But the correction has not happened yet.

ConsumerWatch will update this story when it is fixed.

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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