Family members shocked by sunken graves, willing to take matters into own hands

Sunset Memorial Park

There’s been strong reaction from residents whose loved ones are buried at Sunset Memorial Park in Pearl City.

After KHON2 aired a story showing several graves that caved in, family members were outraged. They want something done as soon as possible.

Many of them came to the cemetery Friday to check on their loved ones’ graves.

With so many other maintenance problems that have plagued the cemetery over the years, some people are fed up and ready to take matters in their own hands.

Helen Ader and her family went straight to Sunset Memorial Park after seeing our story. The grave we showed where the headstone had fallen and covered with mud belongs to her grandparents.

“When we got there, it was just so shocking, so disturbing how just the whole grave, the whole square just fell through,” she said.

They did what they could and covered the grave with plywood.

Roy Olomanu is fed up and wants to move his loved ones to another cemetery, but like everyone else, including us, he can’t get a hold of the owner.

“It’s sad but sometimes I cry to myself, but cannot help yeah,” he said. “If nobody responds, I’ll just go ahead and take them myself. If they take me to jail, oh well, so be it. I don’t care. I just gotta do what’s best for my family and that’s it.”

The problem seems to be getting worse by the day probably because of the heavy rains. We’ve seen more graves caving in and one hole has already gotten bigger and deeper since yesterday.

David Silva, who raised concerns about his mother’s grave, tells us he’s ready to fix the problem on his own too.

“I have a nephew who works in the construction business. He said that he can donate a semi full of dirt. I hope to go to Home Depot get some buckets and then do it the old fashioned way,” he said.

We checked with the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs and learned that people are allowed to fill the holes themselves. But you need a permit from the state Department of Health to move or disinter a loved one to another cemetery.

We also checked with a lawmaker who plans to round up some volunteers.

“It’s not only disturbing, but it’s also a hazard to people who go there, so something needs to get done,” said Rep. Gregg Takayama, D, Pearl City. “I will reach out to the community groups as well as fellow elected officials to see if we can organize some kind of community cleanup.”

Late Friday afternoon the DCCA told us they got a hold of the owner. He told the staff that he has ordered some soil, and plans to fill the holes after the heavy rains stop.

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