Haines City clerk helps Plant City woman find family member’s missing grave

The search was helped by a photograph in which the woman’s parents are kneeling at the grave.

Haines City, Florida. A Plant City resident, with the help of a Haynes City clerk, was able to find the grave of her younger brother, who died 50 years ago.

Veronica Bermudez traveled to Haynes City Hall in search of answers to the question of the burial place of Ricardo H. Dimas. Her younger brother died when she was just 5 years old in 1973, the city said in a statement.

As a child, Bermudez said that she heard stories from her father about where her brother was buried. Her family will visit Forrest Hill Cemetery to pay their respects, although her brother was buried in an unmarked grave. It wasn’t until 2009, when Burmudez lost her father and his house burned down in a fire, that she decided to find her younger brother’s grave.

That’s all she had of her family history, said city clerk Sharon Lauter.

The City Clerk’s officials were unable to find burial records for Brother Burmudez, prompting Burmudez to obtain a death certificate to show that he was indeed buried in Haynes City. Lauter was then able to speak to the listed funeral home, who confirmed the burial, however no paperwork was available.

Now that it seemed like a dead end, Lauger didn’t know how to help Burmudez find her brother’s grave. The only thing Burmudez had were photographs of her parents kneeling at the grave.

That’s when the city clerk’s staff were able to zoom in on the photo to see the surrounding tombstones to pinpoint the location, the city of Haynes City said.

“What started out as a project we thought we couldn’t deliver had a happy ending,” Lauter said in a statement about her team’s ability to find the grave. “The tears shed by the family were tears of happiness.”

Clerk officials confirmed the surrounding gravestones and found a possible location, but records showed the area was marked empty and the burial was never recorded in the county, Lauter explained. A deeper search carried out by the cemetery workers showed that there was a body in this place.

It took two weeks to find the burial site. Burmudez now plans to hold a memorial service for his younger brother on Sunday, July 16, at the burial site.

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