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Jersey burial mishap: No room at the grave

It was an inopportune time for a graveyard to find out it had no vacancies.

It was an inopportune time for a graveyard to find out it had no vacancies.

Garry Meredith, 64, an owner of auto-body shops, was supposed to be buried Monday at Greenwood Cemetery in Stafford Township, Ocean County.

But when gravediggers began checking out the plot that morning, they discovered someone else was buried there.

And no other spots were available.

Meredith's ex-wife, who was handling the arrangements, was notified that morning, but decided to have a service at the cemetery anyway.

Bill Miranda, the roommate who discovered Meredith's body the day he died, said he learned there'd be no burial only after the funeral procession arrived.

"Kinda weird," he said. "I don't know who made the mistake."

After the service, "instead of putting him in, I think they drove him away," Miranda said.

Meredith was taken back to the funeral home in Ocean County until a new resting place could be found.

He has been buried elsewhere, said an official for the funeral home, who declined to be named.

Late changes to burial plans aren't unusual, he said, for many reasons.

Often, though, a new site is quickly found.

In places where the ground is frozen all winter, however, a body might be stored till the spring thaw, he said.

What caused the Meredith mixup is unclear. Some graves at Greenwood date back to the 1880s, and perhaps records were lost. Markers can erode or sink and get covered by dirt and grass.

Meredith purchased the particular plot in question from a friend while undergoing recent treatment for cancer.

Miranda said he found Meredith, who also had a weak heart, upon coming home from work. Miranda's skills as an emergency medical technician didn't make a difference.

"By the time I got to him he was stone-cold," he said. "There was no reviving."

Whose body is buried in Meredith's original destination is still unknown.