A family’s new home in Riverbank, Sacramento, came with an unexpected surprise: Tombstones in the backyard.
The Buenrostro family planned a day of yard clean-up, but they found more than weeds in an overgrown garden area.
Over the course of two weeks, the family unearthed 12 headstones in the backyard of their newly purchased home.
“I immediately thought we bought a cemetery,” Amy Buenrostro said. “Are my dogs going to bring me back a finger?”
Javier Buenrostro discovered the first tombstone, belonging to Oscar R. Peterson, 1900-1984.
“We noticed there are valleys and peaks in the yard, and I said, ‘Are there graves rising in my yard?’” Amy said.
The Buenrostro's contacted Riverbank Police Services and a deputy was sent to their home.
“The first deputy that came out, he thought we were joking with them, because we still had Halloween decorations up,” Amy told FOX40.
Of the dozen tombstones they uncovered, some date back as far as people born in 1894 and those who died as recently as 2000. Some were made for couples, and one of the spouses had yet to pass. Others memorialized people who served in the Navy, Air Force, and a WWII Army Veteran.
“I was very upset finding more, thinking this is a graveyard, and I called (my Realtor) and I said, ‘I think you sold us a cemetery,’” Amy said.
The second deputy to respond to the Buenrostro's home, Deputy Darwin Hatfield, inspected the grounds to see if there were actual graves, and whether the tombstones were stolen from a cemetery, reports The Modesto Bee.
It was discovered that many of the tombstones had typos or other imperfections, and that they were arranged in a way to signal they had once been used as a walking path.
Deputy Hatfield contacted the previous homeowner and he said he had purchased the tombstones from Turlock Marble and Granite Works, which is no longer in business.
“He worked for a company that did service work at the business,” Hatfield said. “He bought them at a discounted price and used them as steppingstones.”
Finding out their backyard was not a cemetery gave great relief to the Buenrostros.
“My family is pretty excited and my mom already said she’d take them,” Amy said. But first, “I am going to try to contact the families and see if the families want them back for some sentimental reason, and if not, then I am really not sure.”