The question of who recently dug up a 118-year-old grave at Webster’s Holy Trinity Cemetery remains a mystery.
According to cemetery director Jackson Thomas, on July 12 the cemetery’s head custodian discovered a grave had been dug into. The custodian called the Webster Police Department, which sent a patrol car to the cemetery.
The Monroe County Medical Examiner’s Office subsequently examined the site, as did an anthropology and archaeology professor from St. John Fisher College and a forensic anthropologist from the University of Rochester. No coffin or human remains were found, and it was determined that “the skeleton is probably no longer existent because of the combination of the acidity in the soil and the high water table, and a similar remark could probably be made for the casket,” Thomas said. “We’re hoping that nothing was available to be removed from the grave.”
A pile of dirt adjacent to the hole by the grave was sifted through in an attempt to find artifacts or skeletal remains. All that was found were a few splinters of wood, a metal hinge, at least two pieces of broken glass and a soda can, Thomas said.
As far as Thomas knows, this is the first time the cemetery has had a grave broken into. The cemetery is in a fairly high-traffic area, as people often cut through the cemetery to get from Ridge Road to a bike path that runs along Route 104 to the north of the cemetery and church. The cemetery is also in an open area, and the parish doesn’t have the financial means to do anything more to increase security at the cemetery, Thomas said.
Most parishioners were shocked when they heard that a grave had been dug up in the cemetery, said Pam Schultz, parish secretary.
“Nothing like this has ever happened before at Holy Trinity. It was unbelievable that something like this would happen to desecrate this ground. It was just an unbelievable act of disrespect,” Schultz said.