On Mother’s Day, the McFadden Family, mother – Jessica and 10-month-old baby Melani, visited Detroit’s Gethsemane Cemetery to pay their respects to Jessica’s grandmother and tragedy struck.
Preparing to take a photo, the mother sat Melani down in front of the headstone. According to Jessica, the headstone suddenly fell forward on top of her child. Heartbreakingly, she described the moments immediately following, to Fox 2 Detroit.
“I didn’t know if my baby was alive under there. I couldn’t hear my baby; I couldn’t see my baby,” she expressed, her voice cracking even as she retold the tale from the safety of Detroit’s Children’s Hospital.
After rushing to remove the headstone, the horrified mother saw Melani was severely hurt. She described a swelling, bloody knot at the back of her head.
“And […] my daughter started vomiting, and she went out,” Jessica explained. After being hurried to the hospital, the infant was diagnosed with a skull fracture.
Following the incident, the McFaddens hired a lawyer.
Jessica claimed, “That headstone was not properly placed,” suggesting that rather than a tragic no-fault accident, it is a direct cause of improper maintenance and negligence on the part of whoever installed the tombstone.
However, despite the cemetery being owned by the city– officials came forward with a statement offering an explanation of what happened at Gethsemane.
“Third-party companies hired by individual families install headstones. They continued to assure that there was no record of concerns about the headstone and that it had not previously fallen, causing it to be reset.”
Finally, offering condolences with a short addition stating, “The city extends its well wishes to the family and hopes for a full recovery for the child.”
The McFadden family revealed that the headstone was installed only five years ago and that they – with the help of attorney Jonathan Marko – are working to track down who precisely set it. Marko’s well-articulated explanation of the event did nothing to ease the heavy misfortune of the situation.
In the same interview with Fox 2, he stated, “It’s not like lightning struck and this tombstone suddenly fell down. This tombstone was a disaster waiting to happen.”
Marko continued, “We have preliminary information that because of the staffing shortages, they had to cut back on what they were able to do, but this is what happens when we cut funding and put a bare-bones operation in our public services – they don’t operate the way that they’re supposed to operate.”
Our prayers go out to the McFaddens. We wish Melani a speedy recovery.