HONOLULU (KHON2) — Community members say an owner-less cemetery in Pearl City notorious for its homeless camps, sinkholes, and overgrown grass continues to be a danger.
Some are so disheartened they’re looking at spending thousands of dollars to remove their loved one’s remains.
Get Hawaii’s latest morning news delivered to your inbox, sign up for News 2 You
“This is the last thing you do for them when they leave you don’t feel good about it. Not at all,” said Tuli Tafai, whose grandparents are buried at Sunset Memorial Park. “Especially my grandfather to us he was our king and this is not how you treat a king,”
The City and County of Honolulu says that the current owner of the cemetery is Hawaiian Cemetery ASSN LTD, but those who work to rehabilitate the park say that the ownership has been defunct since the owner passed away a few years ago.
Laws were passed recently to help allow volunteers to clean without liability, but they can only do so much.
“I don’t even think we these community groups would have the equipment to take care of this sort of, you would need industrial size equipment to take care of these things,” Tafai said.
Former volunteer Darrell Salvado notes that the owner didn’t keep records for many plot purchases, and the records that were kept burned in a fire.
Salvado adds that some folks with receipts for a plot purchase that are planning for burials in the next few months are hoping there won’t be another skeleton buried in their plot.
Some with relatives buried there are looking for ways out.
“It’s not cheap. I think we tried to look into what it would cost and it was in the tens of thousands of dollars,” Tafai said.
Pearl City Neighborhood Board Chair Larry Veray says he met with the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs last week to discuss petitioning the courts to dissolve all corporations related to the cemetery to open it up for someone to take over.
Many including Veray hope that the state can take over, but liability and costs of upkeep remain a concern even if the DCCA is successful.
The DCCA is also working on an interactive website with a recent survey of each headstone and its corresponding GPS location.
Veray says there is a community cleanup tentatively scheduled for Feb. 19 at 7:00 AM.