Headstones from Spokane found after years in Hazel Dell

The headstones were found near a dumpster near an apartment complex

Amy Frazier and KOIN 6 News Staff - PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) -- For at least 6 years, 2 stones sat face down near a dumpster outside the Jaxson Court Apartments in Hazel Dell. Then, just recently, someone decided to give the stones a closer look. The person flipped them over and discovered they were headstones, prompting this question: how did they get there?

It turns out one of the headstones, and possibly both, belong to people buried in a Spokane, Washington, cemetery. Althea Richardson has been there since she died in 2001. The family noticed that her maiden name, which is McMahan, was spelled wrong on the headstone and they replaced it within a year or two.

Althea's daughter, Sonya Rasmussen said it's been "a long time since it was switched out" and was surprised when KOIN 6 News told her where it was found and that "it's still around some place."

The old one somehow made it all the way to Hazel Dell.

"That's a long way to haul stones," Rasmussen said.

Rasmussen lives in Spokane and works in a family history library. She said she's used to tracing genealogy and the stories that can develop from talking with people you never thought you would. This time, she was on the receiving end.

On Tuesday, the Clark County Sheriff's Office posted pictures of the 2 headstones on the Facebook page, asking the public's help in identifying them. Then, after a public records search and talking to some relatives, KOIN 6 News found Rasmussen. She said she had no idea how the headstones made the approximately 350-mile journey from Spokane to Hazel Dell.

"No idea at all," she said. "I have no idea what they do with the stones that are wrong."

KOIN 6 News also did some research on the other headstone found. And though it's a partial name, KOIN 6 News believes it belongs to a man who is buried in the same cemetery in Spokane as Richardson.

 

KOIN 6 News contacted the cemetery to try and learn more about the headstones but we haven't heard back yet.

The Clark County Sheriff's Office continues to investigate. If you have any information about the headstones please contact Deputy Rick Osborne at Rick.Osborne@clark.wa.gov.

 

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