Grieving parents who lost their son in a drowning, face new pain after missing remains at cemetery

(WXYZ) - Three years after a local man's tragic drowning, his family is still trying to place a headstone on his grave.

On October 10, 2012, Bob Beaton went was fishing alone up north when he went missing.  His body was recovered eight days later.

"He drowned in about 10 feet of water," said his father Angus Beaton. 

"We had a cremation ceremony, it was later in the year, there wasn't much to be done in terms of a burial and headstone erection, " said Sue Beaton, Bob's stepmother.  "We took home his ashes, and the following year we decided it was time to put him to rest."

On November 4, 2011, the family gathered at Scottish Settlement Cemetery in Almont Township to lay Bob to rest.  With winter closing in, they needed to wait until spring to have his headstone installed.  And that's when the trouble began.  

That's when they discovered the exact spot where Bob's remains were buried were never marked.

We took their concerns to Almont Township Supervisor Paul Bowman. 

"As far as we are concerned, they are on Angus Beaton's plot, and we know where that is," said Bowman.

On paper, he knows where it is.  Almont Township took over operations of the cemetery in the summer of 2012. 

For hundreds of years before that, it was operated by a cemetery board and they didn't keep the best records.

"The information we got is very, very sketchy, the best thing we have is a map showing who owns what plots," said Bowman.

The original map given to the township didn't  show the Beaton plot nor did they have records showing the family purchased the plot. 

That's one of the reasons family members are pushing to have Bob's remains located before they install his headstone.  They think the township should have them dug up, township officials don't want to pay for it.

"We aren't opposed to having them dug up," said Bowman. "We shouldn't spend township money for that."

It's unknown how much it would cost to unearth Bob's remains.  Digging would have to be done manually so the box containing his ashes isn't damaged.  Bob's father has already paid for the burial and doesn't think he should have to pay to have the remains located. 

"All we want thru this whole thing is somebody to guarantee us he is in the right place and we're going to put the headstone in the proper place," said Angus Beaton.

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