Society

City Plans To Build Townhouses Over Cemetery Where 400 Bodies Mysteriously Disappeared

| by Jonathan Constante

Many Florida residents in Broward County are outraged at city officials who plan to build a housing development over a once "blacks-only" cemetery, where hundreds of bodies have mysteriously disappeared, the Daily Mail reports.

More than 400 people were buried in the three-acre cemetery in Deerfield Beach, though there is some confusion on time periods.

Two separate studies were conducted on the area, and both reported no evidence of any skeletons.

Deerfield Beach Mayor Jean Robb said earlier this month that she believes the bodies were moved to the city-owned Pineview Cemetery. However, relatives of family members buried at the site are demanding proof.

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Some relatives believe that there may still be some remains at the site and do not want a housing development built over them. Others say they have the right to know where their loved ones have been moved.

Benjamin Miller, 83, told The SunSentinel that many of his family members and friends were buried at the cemetery. He added that he attended three funerals himself.

“I saw it with my own eyes; I am a living witness,” Miller said. He added that if the bodies were indeed moved, neither he nor anyone in his family were notified.

“Where did they put the bodies?” Miller asked.

Lillian Gross, 73, felt that the site was not an appropriate place to build a housing development.

“I don’t feel they should build on a cemetery,” said Gross, whose uncle and twin cousins were buried there in the early 1900s. “That’s a home for the dead.”

Velemina Williams, 80, whose grandmother was supposed to have been buried at the site, is not totally convinced that all the bodies were removed from the cemetery.

“I feel like if they start digging, they are going to dig up something,” Williams said. "I think it’s wrong; it’s about the money.”

One of the studies previously mentioned was conducted by the Florida Atlantic University in 1986, and the other was conducted in 2005. Both studies found “little or no evidence” of remains.

One study claimed burials were held between 1910 to 1942, while the other said they occurred between 1897 and 1937. It is unknown which study is correct.

Interestingly enough, researchers who were paid in part by the property owner claim that at least 34 bodies were moved to the city cemetery in 1974.

Plans to build townhouses on the estate were originally proposed in 1974, but outraged locals were able to stop the move.

Property owner Rob Kassab claims the 69 townhouses that are reportedly being built will increase the area's value.

Sources: Daily Mail, The SunSetinel / Photo Credit: Mail Online