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Discarded Tombstone Spotted On Empty Lot Raising Questions In Paramus

PARAMUS, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- A disturbing sight is turning heads in Paramus, where one driver spotted a discarded tombstone just off the roadway.

Along busy Soldier Hill Road, countless cars move past a sea of gravestones at the Garden of Memories cemetery.

But across the street, one stone caught Joe Schrader's eye.

It's hard to miss, at least five feet tall and left abandoned on a pile of debris.

"Got out of the truck, ran over to it, and sure enough, there was some guy's name written on that thing," Schrader told CBS2's Nick Caloway.

The name on the stone is Jack Katz. He apparently died in 1937 at 37 years old, but where Katz is buried, and whether his grave is missing a marker, is hard to say.

The stone has been on the empty lot since the land was cleared earlier this year to build apartments.

A manager for the builder, Onekey, LLC, would not talk with CBS2 on camera but said the company bought the property from the cemetery across the street nearly 20 years ago.

He said before that, it was used as a dumping ground and he's confident there are no graves on the land.

So where did the stone come from?

Caloway called the office at Garden of Memories cemetery during business hours, but the staff would not connect him with a manager and told him to call back on Monday.

For now, the stone still rests on that pile of rubble, overlooked by most but still visible for the world to see.

"If that would have happened to, like, my father's grave, that's a no-no," Schrader said.

After losing his father at a young age, the scene is upsetting for Schrader.

"To just be tossed aside and forgotten like that. What does it say on the bottom? 'Gone but not forgotten.' He was forgotten," he said.

He said he hopes it's just a discarded gravestone and not a desecrated grave.

The mayor of Paramus said he had no knowledge of the issue. He told CBS2 he hopes it's just a discarded stone from the cemetery across the street.

CBS2's Nick Caloway contributed to this report.

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