MONTEVIDEO - A new rift has emerged in a Montevideo area family's dispute over a gravestone.
The dispute has already led to both criminal charges and a civil lawsuit.
John Wendell Albrecht, 75, and his son, John Darron Albrecht, 48, were sentenced in July to one year of unsupervised probation on felony theft charges for removing a gravestone that other family members had placed at the burial site of wife and mother Sandra Albrecht, who died July 24, 2016, at age 74.
The father and son each received stays of adjudication, under which no conviction will appear on their record if they successfully complete probation.
Four of the siblings filed a civil lawsuit at the end of November demanding that their father and brother return the gravestone to their mother's burial site. The gravestone had been recovered under sticks and logs on a remote portion of the senior Albrecht's farm north of Montevideo.
Last month, John Albrecht Sr. placed a monument he purchased and inscribed with both his wife's and his name on the gravestone in the Sunset Memorial Cemetery of Montevideo. Albrecht said the new monument is what he had "really hoped for from the beginning."
He told the Tribune that the dispute has divided the family of 11 children. He hopes they can find a way to end their dispute.
"I'm just so hoping that togetherness and unity can be restored with them also,'' said Albrecht.
He said the monument is carved from a stone containing colorful minerals that his wife would appreciate. She used to tend flower gardens, and loved colorful flowers and rocks. Her gardens were bordered with large rocks she picked out.
Albrecht said he is representing himself in the civil lawsuit. He said he will suggest that the siblings who purchased the original monument place it as a memorial of their own on property they own alongside Minnesota Highway 7 on the east side of Montevideo. He said he will suggest they include flowers and possibly a small, church-like building.
The attorney representing the four siblings in the civil lawsuit, Andrew Hodny of Montevideo, declined to comment on Albrecht's decision to purchase and place a monument on the gravestone.
"I don't really have any comments on any of his actions,'' Hodny said. "I think everything that is from our side of the story is in the complaint that we have on file."
In the lawsuit, the siblings claim that their father breached a contract with them when he removed the gravestone without their consent or knowledge. They state 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 grave stone, the civil complaint states.