MONTEVIDEO - Four siblings have filed a civil lawsuit demanding that their father and a brother return the gravestone they had been charged with stealing from their mother's burial plot to the gravesite.

John Wendell Albrecht, 75, and John Darron Albrecht, 48, entered Alford pleas in district court in July to theft charges for removing a gravestone that other family members had placed at the burial site of Sandra Albrecht, who died July 24, 2016, at age 74.

A sexton at Sunset Memorial Cemetery had noticed the gravestone missing in April. Law enforcement officers recovered the tombstone covered by sticks and logs on a remote portion of the senior Albrecht's farm north of Montevideo.

In the civil lawsuit filed they filed in late November, brothers Lane, Cal and Jasen Albrecht and their sister Deb Grussing claim that their father breached a contract with them when he removed the gravestone without their consent or knowledge. They claim in the lawsuit that they had expressed through a funeral director their offer to purchase and place a gravestone on their mother's grave. The senior Albrecht "exclaimed acceptance, appreciation and thankfulness"' to the director for their offer to cover the costs of the burial and costs of a gravestone.

They charge that the father and son took their personal property by hiding the gravestone, and interfered with their rights to grieve the loss of their mother.

The lawsuit also alleges that the father and son had made false statements that harmed the reputation of the siblings, and intentionally caused them emotional stress.

The civil lawsuit asks the court to order the defendants to restore the gravestone to the burial site and provide monetary damages of over $50,000 to the plaintiffs.

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