Mother of murdered police officer turns to I-Team after what happened to son’s gravesite

CLEVELAND -- The FOX 8 I TEAM is getting action for the mother of a Cleveland Police officer shot and killed in the line of duty.

Pat McLaughlin ended up heartbroken and furious during a recent visit to her son’s gravesite. She found a special marker chipped and bent, a rosary crushed, mud and debris on the headstone, and damage there too.

Officer Robert Clark died in 1998. He got shot to death as police moved in to arrest a drug suspect. His mother has been so committed to keeping up the gravesite; she was devastated to find damage and dirt.

McLaughlin said, "I think it's very disrespectful for the deceased, let alone a gentleman that gave his life, shed his blood, to protect people such as this."

The scene may have been the aftermath from a maintenance crew passing through, but that mother couldn’t just overlook it. She added, "Had they called me and told me what had happened, and we'll get it cleaned up, that would have been fine. But they have never apologized.”

So the I TEAM went to the office. The grave sits in Sunset Memorial Park in North Olmsted.

We spoke to the general manager. Candice Bertemes said, "This is the first I've been made aware of this. And I can promise we will take care of her family." She added, "And I take all of these families very seriously. And I treat everyone like I treat my own family."

In fact, Bertemes immediately talked about ways to help the family and make sure nothing like this ever happens again.

The officer’s mother said he had always talked about taking care of her. Now he can’t. And she will never stop taking care of him. She added, "A mother loves her kids. And they try to protect them. Even in death, I try to protect him."