10 Jul 2009

Grave resold at cemetery near Chicago

4:12 pm on 10 July 2009

Four workers at a cemetery near Chicago have been accused of digging up hundreds of bodies and dumping the remains, so they could profit from re-selling the burial plots.

The BBC reports bones from more than 100 bodies were discovered in mass graves at the Burr Oak Cemetery.

The cemetery contains the graves of a number of well known African-American figures.

Three grave diggers and an office manager have been charged with dismembering a human body.

They are accused of reselling plots so they could keep fees rather than passing them on to the cemetery owners in Arizona.

Bones from dozens of bodies and smashed up gravestones were discovered in an overgrown part of the cemetery in Alsip, 30km south of Chicago. Up to 300 graves were reported to have been desecrated.

Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart told reporters that he scheme may have earned its perpetrators about $US300,000 over four years.

Prominent plots

The BBC reports the cemetery contains the grave of Emmett Till, a black teenager whose lynching in 1955 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.

Sheriff Dart said there was no evidence their graves had been targeted.