KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Heriberto Barraza is a regular visitor at St. Mary’s Cemetery. It’s where his 19-year-old daughter was buried after being killed last year on Southwest Boulevard by a stray bullet during a celebration of Mexico’s Independence Day.
“When I’m frustrated, I come and talk to her,” Barraza said. “She’s my guardian angel.”
Lately, Barraza’s biggest source of frustration has been the cemetery. His daughter, Daisy Martinez, was buried there more than a year ago, but her grave still lacks the headstone.
Barraza and his wife Tracy paid for the headstone in March.
“They said they would have it by her birthday,” Tracy Barraza said.
But Daisy’s birthday was six months ago.
“Most of the family, they are angry,” Tracy said. “It’s just a long time.”
The couple said repeated phone calls to St. Mary’s Cemetery haven’t produced any answers. That’s why they called FOX4 Problem Solvers.
Problem Solvers called St. Mary’s corporate office at Catholic Cemeteries. A manager, Steve Reyes, insisted that the family had misunderstood the promise of a June delivery. Reyes said the headstone has taken longer than usual to deliver in part because of delays caused by COVID-19.
For starters, the family ordered a special type of stone from India because it could be carved into a close likeness of Daisy, even capturing the flow of her long, dark hair. Unfortunately much of India was shut down for months by COVID.
According to a receipt provided by Catholic Cemeteries, the headstone was finally shipped to the United States at the end of October.
Now it’s caught up in a second COVID-19 delay of cargo ships waiting to be unloaded in New York City.
Reyes said he’s asked the shipping agent to give the headstone priority in the unloading process so that it can trucked to Kansas City as soon as possible.
The Barrazas were relieved to learn from Problem Solvers that the headstone was on its way and their daughter’s grave will one day soon have a permanent reminder of her beauty and her spirit.