Relative distressed after cemetery owners claim to have ‘lost’ woman’s body: ‘Dig it up and find her!’

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PETERSBURG, Va. -- Nearly 25 years after the loss of his aunt, a man reached out to the Problem Solvers to help locate her gravesite.

George Noel says his aunt Juanita Rudy Hunter moved back to the area from Connecticut when she fell ill from cancer.

“She came home but she’s lost,” said Noel.

Hunter was buried in Petersburg’s Wilkerson cemetery in April 1994, and that was last time Noel knew where her casket was located.

Noel has been saving up for a headstone for his aunt for two decades.

“I said no relative of mine being buried with no headstone and not being recognized,” said Noel.

Three years ago he says, he attempted to purchase the marker from Virginia Burial Supply when he ran into a problem.

“They gave me the price to purchase it and they said we got to find her first,” he explained. “I said, ‘whatcha mean you got to find her?’ They said ‘we can’t locate her.’ I said ‘what?’ They said. ‘give me time.’”

CBS 6 has learned Virginia Burial Supply purchased the cemetery in 2002 from Wilkerson funeral home who owned it in 1994.

“Somebody buried on top of her [or] that she might not be here that’s only the two possibilities they gave me,” said Noel of Virginia Burial Supply.

But he says what he hasn’t been given all these years is peace of mind as to where he can pay his respects to his Aunt Juanita and be assured she’s at rest.

“You are a person, you will always remain a person in my heart you’re not just somebody in the ground and forgotten,” Noel said as he paced the cemetery.

“My promise to her is you will have a marker and everybody will know where you were buried at and your name will stand out.”

Timothy Banks, owner of Virginia Burial Supply said, they are investigating and will make every effort to locate the gravesite. He says they received limited records from the prior owners of the cemetery. He said they have been in touch with the funeral home that handled Hunter’s arrangements as has CBS 6. Banks reached out to Noel Tuesday afternoon. They have a meeting scheduled for Friday morning.

Noel says he won’t rest until he knows exactly where his aunt returned “home” no matter what it takes.

“Dig it up, dig it up and find her!” he said.

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