Reporting Lauren Leamanczyk
MANCHESTER, NH (CBS) – Parents at two different cemeteries are outraged. They say the gifts, toys and flowers they brought for their deceased children have been thrown away.
Michael Guglielmo’s son Giovanni is buried at Pine Grove Cemetery which is owned by the City of Manchester. Giovanni became a poster child for bone marrow donations. Now his grave is full of things the five-year-old loved as well as gifts and notes from total strangers.
“No parent should have to be in a graveyard visiting their kid and this is like all I can do for him now is bring flowers,” Guglielmo said.
The problem is the cemetery has rules that limit the number of flower pots and prohibit balloons and extra decorations. Cemetery workers removed things from the gravesite.
“Imagine if you saw someone taking something off your child’s grave and throwing it away,” he said.
Across town, at Mount Calvary Cemetery Amanda Treadwell has a similar fight where her unborn daughter Mariah is buried. She’s placed pinwheels and other mementos on the baby’s grave.
She found them tossed in a nearby wooded area along with balloons, flowers and other things that had come from children’ graves.
“Throwing it in the woods, like it’s just a piece of trash like it’s nothing is not right at all,” she said.
The director of Mount Calvary admits the woods were full of the babies’ things and says he had his staff clean them up. But he says it’s not their fault.
“It wasn’t caused by the cemetery. It must have been done by someone else,” said Kevin Cody.
It’s their policy to remove items when they become unsightly because they’ve been sitting out in the elements or if it gets in the way of lawn care.
Meanwhile at Pine Grove, Guglielmo’s complaint may spark change.
“Our parks commission asked me and my staff to look into some alternatives,” said Parks Director Peter Capano.
Michael hopes for a compromise that allows parents like him to grieve.