A Tennessee family mourning the tragic loss of a 6-month-old baby was left reeling when they discovered his casket out of the ground and floating in water days after he was supposed to be buried.
Ashton Mackey died on May 13 after becoming extremely ill, a sudden passing that left his loved ones stunned.
“My heart is so heavy right now I can’t even begin to put it into words,” his grandfather wrote on Facebook after the little boy’s death. “I know that God makes no mistakes, and that God knows best right now, [but] I’m having a hard time with it.”
Relatives gathered on May 20 to say goodbye to Ashton, first coming together at New Faith Bible Baptist Church and finally at New Park Cemetery’s Babyland, where the infant — described in his obituary as a “little angel” — was to be buried.
Ashton’s family visited his grave Monday to pay their respects, but found the baby’s heartbreakingly small white casket above ground in a dirty puddle of water, a video of the incident showed.
“This is what I come up here to,” a relative said in a Facebook Live feed.
The casket was supposed to be buried nine days earlier, loved ones said.
Ashton’s mother, Alysha Mackey, told InsideEdition.com that while she was not able to watch her son's casket be lowered into the ground, her uncle stayed for the actual burial.
"He watched them bury him," she said. "Then I come [on Monday] and his casket was upside down, in floating water. It was on top of the ground."
The site left the young mother reeling, she said.
"I was distraught. I was devastated. I was confused," Mackey, 25, said. "I thought I was going to pass out. I didn't know what to think.
Since it was such a small casket, Ashton's final resting place had only been lowered two feet into the ground, and inclement weather may have caused the disturbance, Mackey said officials with the cemetery told her.
"It still shouldn't have come up," she said, explaining that her son is in a vault that is inside the casket, which would have added weight.
Those at the cemetery at the time of the discovery echoed Mackey's sentiments, she said.
"A man there said he never seen nothing like it ... he said he had been working there 32 years and he never seen nothing like it," she said.
After finding Ashton's coffin upended, his family set to put it back in the ground and re-dig his grave, Mackey said.
The unexpected disturbance at her son’s gravesite has left Mackey even more devastated, she said.
"To see [the casket], again, it brought back bad memories," she said.
“I just want him to rest in peace," Mackey added. "I haven't slept; I'm scared to go to sleep. I've already been dealing with [the loss] but it's gotten worse."
The Shelby County Health Department is reportedly investigating the incident.
The New Park Cemetery has not responded to a request for comment by InsideEdition.com.