Hell-Bent: Robbing Graves and Legacies

Abby Zimet

First came the news of a horrific grave-robbing scam at Chicago's historic Burr Oak Cemetery – final resting place of many notable African-Americans, including 14-year-old lynching victim and civil rights icon Emmett Till – wherein four cemetery workers dug up as many as 300 graves, scattered the bodies and resold the plots. Now, even as hundreds of families arrive to search for the remains of loved ones, Till's casket has been found, housing possums, in a shack; the casket was supposed to be part of a bogus Till Memorial whose funds one of the grave-robbers pocketed.

From one investigator: "Someone's going to go to hell for this one."


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