Thursday, July 09, 2009

US police investigate grave scam!

Debris at the Burr Oak Cemetery, Alsip, 8 July 2009
Police say remains were found behind a pile of grave debris

Remains from dozens of bodies have been found in mass graves at an Illinois cemetery after their grave plots were illegally re-sold, police say.

Police were first notified by the owners of Burr Oak Cemetery in Alsip, 20 miles (30km) south of Chicago, after an employee revealed the alleged scam.

Bones from more than 100 bodies were discovered in an overgrown part of the 150-acre (60-hectare) property.

Five workers from the cemetery were being questioned over the allegations.

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said: "What we found was beyond startling and revolting."

Investigators were still trying to work out how many plots had been re-sold under the scheme, which could have been operating for as long as four years.

The historic cemetery contains the graves of Emmett Till, whose 1955 lynching at the age of 14 galvanised the civil rights movement.

Singer Dinah Washington, former world heavyweight boxing champion Ezzard Charles and Harlem Globetrotter Inman Jackson were also buried there.

Mr Dart said there was no evidence the historic graves had been targeted.

Older unmarked graves which had not been visited for a while appeared to have been dug up, he said.

Possible charges could involve unearthing the dead, conspiracy and financial crimes, Mr Dart told the Chicago Tribune.

BBC NEWS REPORT.

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