Unearthed human bones found in Elizabeth City cemetery

Posted at 8:05 AM, Mar 22, 2013
and last updated 2013-03-22 23:18:28-04

If you walk along the edge of Old Oak Grove Cemetery in Elizabeth City, it doesn’t take long to spot the bones.

“You’ve got a rib bone right here and moving right down here, two large pieces of skull,” Elizabeth City Police Captain John Young says as he points out the bones. “It’s all along this wood line.”

Last Thursday a city maintenance worker found human remains.

Elizabeth City Parks and Recreation Director Bobbie White says she is disgusted.

“It makes me sick,” she says. “It’s heartbreaking to think that someone has passed away and  they have been dug up and thrown to the side.”

Even more bones were discovered Friday. In all, police say three sets of human bones have been found in the cemetery and three new graves have been dug. White says this is no coincidence.

White believes contractors hired by funeral homes found the bones while digging for new graves and failed to report it.

And this isn’t the first time White and police say this has happened at Old Oak Grove.

“I remember this going back at least 10 to 15 years ago and then again in 2008 or 2009,” Capt. Young says.

All the bones are being gathered by police and housed until the original grave sites are found.

That poses another issue.

“This cemetery being so old, it’s a couple hundred years old, we are probably standing on some graves at this moment and don’t even realize it,” White says.

“It’s going to be a monumental task to be able to find out who these belong to,” Young says. “I don’t even know if it can be done.”

Police are cross-referencing their burial records with obituaries to see who unearthed the grave site and if proper registration protocol was followed.