Grandmother fights with Archdiocese over grand-daughter’s grave

SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – An Albuquerque grandmother is being told by the Archdiocese that she has to remove everything she has put around her baby grand-daughter’s grave. Now the grandmother wants to know why.

Tracey Sylvia’s grand-daughter, Emma Rose, was buried at the Rowe Cemetery four years ago after she was killed by her mom’s then-boyfriend. Three months after her death, Sylvia and Emma’s other grandmother, Martha Ortiz, put up a fence and placed sentimental items on top of her grave at the cemetery between Santa Fe and Las Vegas.

According to the cemetery rules and a contract Ortiz signed four years ago, fences, borders, rocks, and toys are prohibited on grave sites. Sylvia admits they overlooked those details, but it wasn’t a big deal until she received a letter from the Archdiocese only a few days ago.

“We don’t understand why it’s causing an issue. Emma’s grave is the most beautiful thing there.”

The Archdiocese of Santa Fe says only headstones are allowed on these grave sites, but that doesn’t sit well with Sylvia.

“You know I’m not getting a reason from them exactly as to why what problem this fence is causing. There are other fences that are up there so I’m not understanding why it needs to come down.”

In a statement to KRQE News 13, the Archdiocese of Santa Fe says it’s sorry for the distress Mrs. Sylvia is experiencing. It continues to say, “We have the responsibility to all to provide a sacred, well-kept and prayerful space where people can pray and remember their family members.”

However, Sylvia says they need to make an exception for her grand-daughter’s grave.

“They really need to let her rest. They need to let her Rest In Peace because she’s not bothering anyone.”

The Archdiocese told Sylvia they need her to clean up Emma Rose’s grave site immediately or the Parish will do it for her. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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