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Statesboro Police investigating after people buried in cemetery without paying for plot

Updated: Jun. 11, 2021 at 5:41 PM EDT
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STATESBORO, Ga. (WTOC) - Police in Statesboro need your help in a bizarre case. They’re looking for people who buried loved ones in a cemetery, but may have unknowingly done it without paying for the plot.

Our story about the grounds at AC Dunlap Cemetery got a lot of you talking on social media. Police say they’re more concerned with who’s buried where than the grass and the weeds.

Statesboro police say they were contacted by the owners about misuse of the cemetery - namely, they say, funeral homes burying people here without approval or payment. The officer looking at the case says she’s asking people to come forward if they’ve buried a loved one here. They’re cross checking records for who was buried with payment and approval and who was not.

“There should be a record of a plot being purchased. There should also be a record of the cemetery owner being compensated for those burials,” said Sgt. Rosalyn Byrd.

She says the owners told her they installed the fence and locked gate to keep trucks and other burial equipment out without prior approval.

An attorney for the owner contacted WTOC and let us know what he said was the real reason it’s fenced and locked like it is.

The grass towers over the markers in some spots. Attorney Daniel Crumby says the previous caretaker passed away. He says part of that job now must be protecting the place. He claims some funeral homes have come here without approval and buried people who don’t have a plot here. Or even worse, he says, reusing an occupied one.

“We’ve got people who’ve been buried there for a hundred years. But now we’ve got individuals going into the cemetery and basically burying bodies on top of the people already there,” said the owner’s attorney Daniel Crumby.

Statesboro Police could not give me details on this active investigation. But the lead officer says they’re appealing to people who’ve buried someone there in recent years and thought they’d paid to make sure money made it to the rightful owner.

“If they have a loved one there, we can confirm things based on the records provided to us by the owner,” said Sgt. Rosalyn Byrd.

Crumby says the maintenance issues WTOC first reported on tie directly back to the roughly 40 unauthorized burials here in the past few years.

“That’s $40,000 that could have certainly been used for that upkeep.”

He says he and police have contacted state funeral and burial regulators to see what can be done about what’s supposed to be a final resting place.

Anyone with loved ones buried in the Dunlap Cemetery is asked to contact Statesboro Police.

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