Prosecutors charged four Chicago-area cemetery workers with felony counts on Thursday for allegedly digging up graves and dumping the remains to resell the burial plots.
Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said detectives found a pile of bones from more than 100 decomposed bodies above ground and uncovered in an overgrown, fenced-off portion of the cemetery, the Chicago Tribune reported.
The Burr Oak Cemetery in suburban Alsip is the final resting place of several prominent black Americans, including blues singer Dinah Washington, boxing champion Ezzard Charles, and Emmett Till, the 14-year-old boy whose brutal 1955 slaying in Mississippi stoked the civil rights movement.
It's unclear if the
graves of any of the famous people have been desecrated, but Till's grave is thought to remain intact, Dart said.
Those charged with felony counts of dismembering a human body today include cemetery manager Carolyn Towns, 49, of Chicago, and three gravediggers: Keith Nicks, 45, and Terrence Nicks, 39, both of Chicago; and Maurice Dailey, 59, of Robbins. The charge is a Class X felony, according to the Cook County State's Attorney's office.
What we found was beyond startling and revolting, Dart told the Chicago Tribune.