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Video: Yulee cemetery owner asks mother visiting her son's grave on his birthday to leave

by: Danielle Avitable, Action News Jax Updated:

YULEE, Fla. - A cemetery owner asked a grieving mother to leave a Nassau County cemetery on her son's birthday. The confrontation was posted on Facebook and it’s going viral.

Now, there's an online campaign against that cemetery owner.

Linda Strickland said it was his first birthday since her son, Christopher, passed away from heart failure.

"It was very hard to lose him, it was not an easy thing," Strickland said. 

He would have turned 36 years old, so Strickland said she and her friend, Joy Sullivan, went to his gravesite at Green Pine Cemetery with balloons and flowers.


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And while they were grieving, the owner approached them. 

"My friend told me, 'Watch out there's a lady coming and she doesn't look too happy,'" Strickland said.

In the video, the cemetery owner, Ellen Stephens, claimed that they parked in the wrong direction and were on the grass and was demanding they leave. 

"For someone to behave like that at a place where you go to grieve and pay respects was so uncalled for when we had done nothing wrong," Sullivan said. 

Action News Jax's Danielle Avitable went to the funeral home and knocked on the door, but no one answered. When she called the funeral home, she was asked to call their attorney.

"They've got me so rattled that I don't even feel comfortable to go out there and see my own son’s grave," Strickland said. 

Strickland said someone did call her this week from the cemetery and asked her to remove the video of the confrontation from Facebook. That video is why some in the community have planned a protest at the cemetery Friday.