'I want to be buried next to him:' Widow heartbroken over husband's missing grave

Evelyn and Julius Walker

Questions loom over a retired Birmingham Police Captain's grave, leaving a family frustrated and heartbroken.

Julius Walker was buried in May of 2017 at Zion Memorial Gardens. The family ordered and paid for two headstones. The first was not what they requested and when the second one arrived, there was confusion over which plot Walker was buried in. It was in a new section and the family could only confirm the general area.

Ownership of the cemetery changed hands after Walker's funeral. Current owner Beverly Cole told ABC 33/40 she could not put the headstone on the grave without confirming its location. Cole blames her ex-husband, Cedric McMillian, for the confusion. He owned the cemetery at the time of Walker's burial. Cole was given ownership of Zion Memorial in their divorce settlement.

"$3,200 dollars [is] just sitting up here in the parking lot," Evelyn Walker said, clearly frustrated over the headstones. Cole says because there is no plot map, her office is unsure about the location of up to 12 graves, including Walker's.

McMillian declined to be interviewed for our story but told us he would help figure out the location of the grave using Walker's plot numbers and those nearby. He gave ABC 33/40's Cynthia Gould varying stories about how the plot numbers should be read.

"I wanted to be buried up here next to him; that's not not going to happen," lamented Walker.

Last Friday, more than a year after Julius Walker's funeral, the headstone was finally installed. But Evelyn Walker says she is still not 100% convinced the marker was put on her husband's actual burial spot. Exhuming the grave is the only sure way to know. "I don't want to imagine that; I just want them to do what's right, " said a tearful Walker.

There is no regulatory agency over cemeteries in the state of Alabama. Critics say that's why so many problems persist. Jefferson County's legislative delegation authorized a board to oversee local cemeteries in 2017, but it has yet to meet.

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