Family Purposely Locked in Coeur D’Alene Cemetery While Visiting Son’s Grave
For the last five years, the Griffin family of Coeur D' Alene Idaho has spent part of the 4th of July visiting the grave of their late 3 year old son, Eli. But this year, they were locked in by an employee who refused to wait for them to pay their respects.
Monday, the family arrived in the evening to have their annual observance at Eli's grave, as he was born on the 4th of July. The family leaves flowers, spruces up a little orange car on the headstone, and remembers him by having orange cupcakes-his favorite color. His mother, Bethany, says it's their special birthday party for the little boy who loved fireworks more than anything.
The family would spend a little time at the Riverview Cemetery watching the aerial fireworks show over the city before leaving.
But this year when they arrived, they were met by a city parks employee who told them the cemetery was closed. A new unannounced policy went into effect, closing the facility on July 4th in the evening to prevent people from lighting off fireworks on the grounds.
When the family asked if they could at least leave their flowers on Eli's grave, and walked over to do that, they saw the worker drive up to the gate, pull it shut, and secure the padlock on the gate chain, trapping them inside! He then drove away in his truck. There was enough space for their smaller children to barely squeeze through the gate, but not the adults.
After sitting there for over 90 minutes, and a call to local police, a park supervisor came by to unlock the gate, but the family said he didn't care about their reason for being there. He harshly reminded them about the new policy.
Since this incident, the family has received a personal call from the Parks and Rec Director from the city, who says they won't lock the gates that early again next year, and he apologized profusely for the insensitive treatment the Griffin family received.
No word on if the other two workers were reprimanded.