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Immokalee family wants answers from county on flooded graves

Posted at 11:32 PM, Aug 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-22 13:55:56-04

UPDATED: County officials will address flooding issue.

When Damian Rivera's life ended suddenly April 19th, his family chose Lake Trafford Memorial Gardens in Immokalee as his final resting place.

The price tag for Rivera’s funeral is $9,000, but visiting his grave is almost impossible.

"You need a little raft, I'm just saying to get through,” said his aunt Mary Lou Rivera

Rivera’s grave, along with dozens of others are submerged.

“You can see some of the tombstones lifting off the ground,” said Rivera’s aunt.

Damian's family say the flooding got worse from summer rains, most recently the storm which came through on Friday.

"Sometimes we have stuff that we already put there, flowers and arrangements that we pick up because they floated to other people's graves, you know the mosquitoes and bacteria,” said Rivera.

Rivera had enough, she launched an online petition calling on the county to fix the problem.

Collier County Spokesperson Kate Albers says the county is hiring a project manager to decide how to deal with the flooding.

She could not give an estimate of how long that process will take.

The family is frustrated, they weren't told ahead of time about the flooding problems with this part of the cemetery, but they feel worse for Damian and others who are buried there.

"They don't deserve it,” said Rivera.

Damian's family says relocating the grave would cost several thousand dollars more on top of what they already paid.