$20 million lawsuit filed against Detroit cemetery over misplacing remains of 2-year-old girl

Family had been visiting what they believed was her grave for 19 years

In June, grieving family members looked on as officials dug up graves at Gethsemane Cemetery to find misplaced bodies.
In June, grieving family members looked on as officials dug up graves at Gethsemane Cemetery to find misplaced bodies.

DETROIT – In June, grieving family members looked on as officials dug up graves at Gethsemane Cemetery to find misplaced bodies.

The cemetery search has led to a massive lawsuit from a heartbroken mother who is wondering where here 2-year-old has been buried.

The lawsuit was filed Wednesday afternoon.



Tanya Sanders is demanding the city and cemetery produce the body of her 2-year-old daughter who had been buried at Gethsemane almost 20 years ago.

Her attorney is asking for $20 million for her suffering.

In 2002, Sanders was carrying her 2-year-old daughter, Kierra Rene, in one arm and was holding the hand of another child with the other when a car jumped the curb and struck all three. Kierra died instantly from a skull fracture.

At least three times a year since the collision, Sanders visited Kierra’s grave.

During June’s cemetery dig that was overseen by Detroit police, Sanders said she asked cemetery staff to look for Kierra.

“He dug, he called me back three days later and told me, ‘Miss Sanders, I can’t find your daughter’s plot nowhere,’” Sanders recalled.

She had left balloons on Kierra’s grave during her last visit and she now believes someone moved her daughter’s body.

“They didn’t have my permission. You should have asked me. You should have made me informed,” Sanders said. “I don’t appreciate it and I’m very angry.”

“This level of negligence, I can think of nothing worse for a mother to have to go through than to have to grieve twice,” said attorney Michael Fortner.

“I want her found and reburied where she was so I can continue to go visit her,” Sanders said.

You can watch Rod Meloni’s full story in the video above.


About the Authors:

Rod Meloni is an Emmy Award-winning Business Editor on Local 4 News and a Certified Financial Planner™ Professional.

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.