Family of buried man and owner of Saluda Rest Preserve Natural Burials in conflict, court paperwork shows
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MARIETTA, S.C. —
Sandy Glenn lost her husband, Mark Guion, to a sudden heart attack in December 2018.
He wanted to be buried in a green cemetery, where the land is allowed to stay in its natural state.
So he was buried at Saluda Rest, a natural burial site and ministry in Marietta, South Carolina.
Glenn tells WYFF News 4 she wants to visit his grave, but after a court order served last week she can't.
"His Facebook says that he (Saluda Rest) is still open all the time, which is what we were told originally, but when we got there he had posted notices that it was for family only and that it would be open February 29th...which if you realize that's a leap day. It happens once every four years,” said Glenn.
A report from the Greenville County Sheriff's Office shows that in June, there was a dispute between Glenn and Kenneth Curtis, the owner of Saluda Rest. That report details that Glenn wanted to visit the grave, and that Curtis said she had damaged his property twice when she drove through the site before.
The investigators' report reads that, while there was some displaced gravel, deputies couldn’t prove that this was malicious in any way.
In July, a court awarded $100.00 in damages to Curtis for the muddiness caused when Glenn drove through the non-profit cemetery to visit her husband's grave.
Glenn tells WYFF4 Curtis spread horse manure on the graves, and she says that while families are kept from going to the graves of their loved ones, hunters are welcome at the cemetery.
In court paperwork, Curtis admitted to dumping horse manure on Glenn's husband's grave against her wishes -- the record shows that he agreed to stop.
"We're an all-natural burial facility,” Curtis said, “What miss Glenn calls 'horse manure' is compost, we put compost on all the graves when we finish them so that grass will grow. It's got seed in it, and it grows a beautiful cover crop so the earth doesn't erode."
Curtis took a WYFF News 4 crew to see the grave - there didn't appear to be fertilizer of any kind on it.
Curtis tells WYFF4’s Renée Wunderlich he does allow hunters on the land, and that's one of the reasons he has a gate and requests visiting families to either have him let them in, or gives them an access code to a special lock on the gate.
A court order show that Glenn is entitled to access Saluda Rest to visit Mark's burial site, and that Curtis had to establish and post standard visitation hours.
So he did: February 29th.
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But one the rules he established says that, if any one wishes to be exempt from the policies, they can call him.
"She (Glenn) has access, there's no problem with her having access - there's a problem with the way that she is demanding access. This is private property. This is not a business, this is not public lands, this is private property,” Curtis said.
Curtis told WYFF4's Renée Wunderlich that because Saluda Rest is a church, a non-profit cemetery, a family cemetery and a nature preserve, the natural burial site is exempt from South Carolina Cemetery Board regulations.
Glenn told Wunderlich she's concerned other families may be restricted from paying their respects, and that she just wants to be able to visit her husband's final resting place.
"My goal is peaceful access to the cemetery. To be able to go and visit, and maintain the site without being harassed and know when it's going to be open,” said Glenn.
Curtis told Wunderlich none of the thirty-some families he's served through burials at Saluda Rest since around 2006 have had any issues, and that just wants an apology from Glenn.