'Who moved Mom?'; Family claims headstone hopped plots
Roy Gallardo has been coming to visit his mom at Holy Hope Cemetery for 65 years.Photo: Video by kgun9.com
CREATED Aug. 22, 2013
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - A ghoulish graveyard mystery leaves a local family wondering, 'Who moved Mom?'
It's not quite 'Night of the Living Dead', but it gave Roy Gallardo quite a shock.
"This is my mother's headstone," he said.
Gallardo has been coming to visit his mom at Holy Hope Cemetery near Oracle & Prince for 65 years.
"Mary Hilda Gallardo," he said, reading her name.
But until about six months ago, that name wasn't planted where it is now.
Instead, he says, it sat one row and a few plots over.
"It seems like the headstone had been moved from over here to this area over here," said Gallardo.
Now, the site where he assumes his mother's body rests, is marked with a stranger's name.
"It says Ines Romero," said Gallardo.
9OYS reporter Maggie Vespa asked, "And that name means what?"
"No, nothing," said Gallardo. "I don't know who that would be."
"So when you come to visit your mom, which one do you go to?" Vespa asked.
"We dont' know! We go to both," he said.
Gallardo and his cousin Robert say they told cemetery staff multiple times about the surprising swap.
"No, that's where your mom has always been."
Vespa asked, "At any point, did you think, 'Maybe I'm crazy? Maybe they're right?'"
"I thought of that, yes," said Gallardo. "But I'm not crazy, they're trying to tell us what we know is right."
So 9OYS took the post-mortum puzzle to the man in charge.
Vespa asked, "This is the first that you're hearing of this issue?"
"Yes that's correct," said Anthony Crespo, director of cemeteries for the Catholic Diocese of Tucson.
Crespo says it's against policy to move or alter a headstone without consenting family of the deceased.
"One thing that we honor is the family's trust that they place in the cemetery," he said.
But it's a trust Gallardo says is now tarnished, thanks to this troubling tombstone trade.