I-Team: Good Shepherd Cemetery Not Resting in Peace

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(WBRE/WYOU-TV)     A troubled Luzerne County cemetery once again causing frustration, pain, and anger for families who have loved ones buried or entombed there.   The I-Team’s Andy Mehalshick first reported on the deplorable conditions at Good Shepherd Cemetery in Plains Township four years ago.

  Mary Ann Janoski told the I-Team she is sad very sad when she visits the cemetery. “I could see some are being moved out. I wish I could do that for her,”

  Janoski’s grandmother was entombed here in 1984. She says she simply does not have the money to relocate her remains to another mausoleum or cemetery.

“It’s deplorable, it’s terrible. I just wish the situation were better but it obviously is not going to get any better” Said Janoski.

She and other families were hopeful that the situation would get better. It did not.

   The owners of the cemetery bought the property in 2005 at a Luzerne County tax sale.  They have insisted ever since that they did not know they were buying a cemetery. They thought it was a vacant lot.

  We talked with the owner in 2006..

 “We did not purchase the business part of it. We do not intend to continue this place as a cemetery,” Said Viktoria Evstafieva- Cemetary-Owner

She and her business partner sued Luzerne County making that claim.  But the courts ruled in 2017 they should have known it was a cemetery and are the owners of the entire property… but since then nothing has been done to make repairs and families have had to pay the expense of having the remains of loved ones removed. Funeral director Chris Yanaitis has relocated 20 bodies.

“I don’t know what the end game is going to be. This building structurally fails. That is going to be a decision for Plains Township and Luzerne County in general. At some point this is going to become a bio-hazard mess,” Noted Yanaitis.

“Step forward and assume the responsibility that needs to be done here. It’s just deplorable it just not right,” Said Mary Ann Janoski.

Eyewitness News attempted to contact the owners of the cemetery have been unsuccessful. The attorney who represented them in the lawsuit action tells us. He no longer represents the owners.


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