Woman briefly locked in Vernon cemetery

Woman briefly locked in Vernon cemetery

Let out thanks to help found through social media

It was shaping up to be a rather bleak Sunday evening for a local woman before social media came to the rescue.

Melanie Mae was paying her respects by dropping off flowers at a grave in Pleasant Valley Cemetery at about 4 p.m. Jan. 13. And, as she prepared to leave, it became abundantly clear that she had been locked inside.

Mae, who was alone at the time, said she first called the City of Vernon. However, given the timeline, no one was on hand to take her call, she said. Mae said she lives out of town and no one was at home to assist her.

“I called the (RCMP) non-emergency line and was transferred to Kelowna,” Mae said. “The lady on the phone was actually very unprofessional. I got told, ‘Well, there’s nothing I can do, so you can drive around and look for a phone number of a sign somewhere, or park your car and walk home and come back in the morning, or wait in your car if you don’t want to leave it.’”

That’s when Mae took to social media to ask for help. Comments began pouring in and, after only a few hours, the post had received more than 100 reactions, some of which criticized the alleged response of the RCMP dispatch officer.

RCMP Const. Kelly Brett said that there is no police file associated with the incident, and as such, she can’t speak to that discussion.

“Being that the RCMP does not hold keys to any city property or gates, there wouldn’t have been a lot the RCMP could have done,” Brett said.

“Again, I can’t speak to what was said to the person by the call-taker. However, our only option is to ensure the safety of the person, which is why I am assuming they were told to leave their car there and get to a safe place with someone and collect their property, the car, in the morning. Keeping in mind her car was locked in, she could have walked out and or had someone pick her up, and for us that is what is important, the safety of the person.”

Brett said in these situations RCMP would refer to the city or property owner and it would be considered a non-police issue unless the person’s safety was deemed to be at risk.

Through a Facebook post on the Vernon Rant and Rave page, Mae was connected with a city employee who was able to let her out of the cemetery.

“Someone who saw the post who worked for the city drove right there after about an hour of being stuck there and let me out. I was super lucky, that’s for sure,” Mae said. “The amount of support I got was amazing.”

The next morning, Mae said she awoke to numerous apologies, including from the man who locked the gate who said he just didn’t see her.

“There are more people willing to help you then there are people who aren’t,” Mae said.

Kendra Kryszak, manager of Parks and Public Spaces Maintenance, said the City of Vernon contractor is required to inspect the entire cemetery before locking the gate to ensure that no patrons or their vehicles are locked inside. The cemetery’s hours are posted at the entrance and Kryszak said patrons are asked to respect those house to mitigate this risk.

“Let me express my apologies to the person who was locked in,” Kryszak said. “We will review our procedures and follow up to see what happened and how we can ensure it doesn’t happen again.”

If someone finds themselves locked in the cemetery, Kryszak said, they should call the City of Vernon Bylaw Compliance at 250-550-3505.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

The Shuswap River in Enderby draws in people from near and far in the summer months of each year. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
RDNO ends lengthy attempt to bring new boating regulations to Shuswap River

With no consensus among stakeholders or remaining funds, the regional district is moving on

The final phase of Vernon’s north-south travel corridor on 29th and 30th Streets will begin at 9 a.m. Friday, June 18, 2021. (Shawn Talbot Photography)
Vernon’s 39th Avenue rail crossing closed tomorrow for warning system upgrades

The final phase of the city’s double roundabout intersection is starting months earlier than expected

Lake Country home destroyed in large blaze, 11 dogs rescued

Fire crews are responding to 10839 Hallam Drive

Fanny Chapman doesn’t just serve up Mexican flavours at the Kal Lake Food concession at Kal Beach, she also teaches Spanish. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Vernonites asked to share funniest Spanish translation stories

Mexicans living in town holding a contest to offer free Spanish classes

(City of Enderby photo)
Enderby council honours local volunteer ‘cornerstone’

Melvin Slater receives the Lifetime Civic Merit Award for his decades of work with service organizations

Bear wanders Kelowna on June 15. (Michelle Wallace/Facebook)
Bear climbs fence, uses crosswalk in Kelowna

The bear was spotted on Baron Road Wednesday evening

This photo of the small wildfire burning above Naramata was taken at 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021 (Monique Tamminga Western News)
BC Wildfire on scene of small wildfire above Naramata

Smoke has been showing since earlier in the day

Students in the Grade 10 entrepreneurship program at Summerland Unisus School have completed a cookbook with international recipes. (Contributed)
Summerland students create virtual international cookbook

Entrepreneurship program at Summerland Unisus School uses virtual cookbook as fundraiser

Hundreds of people, young and old, joined the three-day Walking Our Spirits Home procession, honouring residential school survivors, those who never made it home and all those affected by the institutions. Here people walk the third portion on June 13. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)
Walking Our Spirits Home from Kamloops provides path to healing

First Nations in and beyond Secwépemc territory join in to honour residential school survivors

More flames
Lake Country home destroyed in large blaze, 11 dogs rescued

Fire crews are responding to 10839 Hallam Drive

(Facebook/Kelowna Cabs)
Kelowna Cabs reaches tentative agreement with dispatchers union

The tentative agreement could help end the dispute between the taxi company and the dispatchers

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

201 First Street West 1980s. Prior revitalization. (Photo from Revelstoke Museum and Archives)
Man who redesigned downtown Revelstoke honoured with lifetime achievement award

Robert Inwood has worked on historical projects across the province

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

Most Read