Midland Man Upset Over Cemetery Mix-up in Martin County

by Victor Lopez
NewsWest 9

MARTIN COUNTY--Three generations of Barber family members are buried in the cemetery in Martin County.  Willie Barber would have been the third.  The only problem is, someone else is buried in his spot.  He's been trying to get the problem fixed for a year, "We had bought out that whole area over a decade ago, over two decades ago."

His father, uncle, and grandmother are already buried in the cemetery and there should be two empty spots that he paid for.  Barber says, he's got all the paperwork to prove the plots are his.  Regardless of the fact, someone was buried in one of them in February of 2008, "They should have been able to see that all that area was just Barber's,  family members to the Barbers."

Willie, who is sight impared, said he was listening to NBC Nightly News on Thursday, when he thought he heard a way to help him solve his problem,  "They were reporting about situations that were happening in cemeteries across the Nation and that sparked my curiosity, saying this is happening to me, right here in Martin County."

While NewsWest 9 was at the cemetery, we got an unexpected visitor, Danny Fryar, Stanton City Administrator and the President of the cemetery board.  He said, "The person that was buried in the plot, we were pretty well aware that he was in the wrong place.  At some point or another, there was 2 different people that sold the same land."

Fryar says he's sorry for the mix up and is doing what he can to fix it, "We have negotiated some other property for the man who is buried in the wrong place.  We're hoping the family will agree to let us do it."

But, he added, there's some legal hurdles he has to get over, "To be able to move someone, you have to go through the state and get a release to move someone and it's a long process to get it done."

Fryar and Barber have agreed to wait 60 days to see what happens, before pursuing the matter any further.