District Attorney now investigating claims against cemetery

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ADAMS COUNTY, Pa.-- Albert Shultz from Hanover tried to find something he bought more than 50 years ago.

"Trying to find my plot. It's between here and here," he said.

He's facing a problem people fear most at Oak Lawn Memorial Gardens.

"I bought this plot when I was up here in Gettysburg in 1960 right after I got married," he said.

The Adams County commissioners released a statement saying they're working to resolve the issue. It said the lot records have been taken to the Cumberland Township Police, where they will be preserved pending administrative and possible criminal charges. The district attorney is working with police on the investigation. It goes on further to say people have the right to bury loved ones through their funeral directors.

County Solicitor John Hartzell said from what he understands people have the rights to their plots.

"Once a person owns a lot, they have a right of easement and the perpetual right to have someone in there as long as the property continues to be used as a cemetery," he said and added he's never seen a situation like this before.

Hartzell said the county has created a website to help people file complaints if they feel they have been the victim of criminal activity.

"I'm going to file a complaint report," Schultz said. "Will just have to wait and see what they have to say and take it from there."

According to the statement, Hartzell is working with the State Real Estate Commission and new owners attorney to make sure people can be buried there in the immediate future.

If you need to file a complaint click here.

Here is the full release from the commissioners office:

Local and state organizations are continuing to work cooperatively to facilitate the best outcome concerning the Oak Lawn Cemetery situation. There is general agreement among involved organizations that the most pressing issue is to ensure new burials can be undertaken.  Lot records have been removed from the Oak Lawn business office under authority of the Adams County District Attorney and taken to the Cumberland Township Police Department, where they will be preserved pending resolution of administrative and possible criminal charges.
 
Despite the current situation, current burial plot owners retain the right to bury deceased loved ones through their funeral director.  Funeral Directors may access burial records by appointment at the Cumberland Township Police Department.
 
The Adams County Solicitor’s office is contacting the Pennsylvania Department of State and the new owner’s attorneys to ensure that burials of for plot owners will remain available in the immediate future.  As of Thursday evening the Adams County District Attorney, in conjunction with Cumberland Township Police Department, has created a form on the Adams County website that can be completed and submitted electronically for any person to file a complaint regarding Oak Lawn Cemetery.  That website is: www.adamscounty.us.
 
We will continue to keep residents informed of additional developments.

 

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