TOTAWA, N.J. — The vice president of Laurel Grove Cemetery has one response to viral claims that a family’s plot was disturbed or excavated: “Absolutely not.”
In three videos that have since received millions of views, TikTok user Jessica Tawil shows a gravesite on the cemetery’s premises. According to the first video, posted Tuesday, Tawil’s sister is buried in the plot in question.
“There’s a body buried on top of my sister,” Tawil says while panning over a mound of soil.
In a second video posted on the same day, Tawil and her family are seen speaking to cemetery staff. The caption on the second video claims Laurel Grove Cemetery sold the plot to another family and then buried a second body there.
“We don’t do that,” a cemetery staffer says while Tawil’s family continues to demand to know who is buried “above” Tawil’s sister.
“This week we performed routine maintenance on a grave space and two adjoining spaces as well as many other spaces in our cemetery,” Laurel Grove Cemetery Vice President William Pesodelis said in a statement to PIX11. “In this instance, a backhoe bucket of soil was placed on the area in question on Monday afternoon. This was to service three adjoining graves.”
In a final video posted Wednesday, Tawil pans over a level plot in the cemetery.
“They tried to flatten everything out,” she says. “I don’t know if that person is under there. I’m not understanding.”
Pesodelis said the new topsoil was placed after the plot was leveled as part of routine grave maintenance.
“No digging or excavation was done. Certainly no burial was done,” Pesodelis said. “I have spoken to the family twice and they also spoke with members of our staff. This was explained to them. This is how we properly maintain the cemetery.”