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Detroit police dug up 19 graves after finding discrepancies in cemetery records

Posted at 3:18 PM, Jun 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-10 15:18:02-04

(WSYM) — Detroit Police dug 19 graves from the Gethsemane Cemetery on Gratiot Avenue after receiving 20 complaints stating family members were not buried in the graves they were told they were.

RELATED: Detroit police plan to exhume 20 bodies as they investigate cemetery records

Police say this all started in April when a family wanted to relocate a loved one’s body to another cemetery.

“Basically the wrong person was where the cemetery told them their loved one was,” said Commander Eric Decker, Detroit Police Department.

Police say the person was found a site over. The city set up a hotline to address concerns as it was realized it might not be an isolated incident. They investigated calls from about 50 families and found discrepancies in the records of 20 burials that happened between 2015 and 2020 under previous management.

After digging Tuesday and Wednesday, police found the following:

  • 1 body was found and at the family's request was removed and moved to a different cemetery
  • 4 bodies were located but not in the graves where family were told they would be (they were found 6 ft or less from original location)
  • 14 bodies were located in the graves families were told the body were placed

If families have questions, police say they need to reach out to the cemetery.