Feb. 26, 2001 PROBE

February 26, 2001

QUESTION: When my mother died three years ago she was buried in the pauper's section of Terrace Park Cemetery in Holtville until we got the money for her burial insurance. Then we had her moved to Mountain View Cemetery in Calexico.

Recently I visited a friend in Holtville and stopped by the cemetery. I noticed the county block with her name on it where her grave had been.

I never saw her body when they moved it. When I asked to see her, Kirk Hems of Hems Bros. Mortuary said the body was decayed and the casket was sealed.

Was her body really moved and reburied in Calexico or was the casket empty? Why is the county block with her name on it still in the Holtville cemetery's back yard?


Please look into this. I need to know where my mother's body is. Is the burial plot in Calexico her final resting place, not just a spot with a marker bearing her name? — Her Only Son, Calexico

All we can tell you is that sometimes you just have to believe. It's possible seeing the county block with your mom's name on it raised unsettling memories.

Next time you have those dark thoughts, turn on the light, drink a glass of milk, read a book or watch something on television.

Cemetery records show your mother was buried in October 1997 in Terrace Park and dug up Feb. 23, 1998, by cemetery employees. The body was moved and reburied in Calexico by Hems Bros.

Why would the cemetery employees dig up your mom's casket and rebury her body, moving an empty casket to Calexico?

Dennis Jones, manager of the Central Valley Cemetery District, said it's possible the county block was tossed aside when the body was exhumed and later reset by an employee setting things straight.

MORE ON OLD 80 — I found a piece on Old Highway 80 on the Internet. — Researcher, Brawley

Thank you. When the highway was commissioned in 1926, it was U.S. Highway 80 stretching from San Diego to Tybee Island, Ga. In California it went from San Diego to Yuma.

PROBE readers can find the Internet piece at

If you want to check out old Highway 99, just substitute 99 for 80 in the above address.

If you're not into surfing the net, check out the book, "The Old U.S. 80 — Highway Traveler's Guide — Phoenix to San Diego.

It's available at the Pioneers' Museum, priced at $10.95. Bypassed by freeways in the 1970s, Old 80 exists in Imperial County as Evan Hewes Highway. We drive it every day between Holtville and El Centro.

ANOTHER CLOSET SEARCH — We have nearly depleted our supply of wigs, particularly in dark colors, breast prosthesis and brassieres that we give to cancer patients. If any of your readers have such items, we would welcome the donations.

In addition to being tax deductible, the items would meet a tremendous community need. — Director, El Centro

OK, PROBE readers, here's another chance to make a difference. Donations may be dropped off at the American Cancer Society's district office, 400 S. 8th St., El Centro, or by calling (800) ACS-2345 or 352-6656. A volunteer will pick up your items.

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