Families Criticize Grand Prairie Cemetery

Police investigate whether skeletal remains found by cemetery visitor are human

By Christine Lee
|  Wednesday, May 16, 2012  |  Updated 9:02 PM CDT
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Family members with loved ones buries at American Memorial Park Cemetery near Belt Line and Marshall in Grand Prairie say they have concerns about the way the cemetery is being managed.

Christine Lee, NBC 5 Grand Prairie Reporter

Family members with loved ones buries at American Memorial Park Cemetery near Belt Line and Marshall in Grand Prairie say they have concerns about the way the cemetery is being managed.

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A historic Grand Prairie cemetery is in such disarray that some families say they can't even find the loved ones buried there.

Yolanda Tillmon, who buried her only child at American Memorial Park Cemetery five years ago, said her son's headstone was moved around and sometimes had tire marks on it.

"When you pay for a service that's rendered and you don't get it, it not only makes me angry when I come out here, it's like being angry and crying at the same time," she said.

Danny Ned, who buried his brother, Arthur Ned, last month, said he couldn't find his brother's marker.

"We have no idea where he is at," he said.

Cemetery spokesman Gerald Weatherall told NBC 5 by phone that every family is given a deed to the plot, and it's their responsibility to put a permanent marker on it.

Days ago, a family visiting the cemetery found skeletal remains. Grand Prairie police are investigating to see if the remains are human.

Weatherall said the discovery of the bone is not a result of mismanagement.

When asked about the piles of dirt seen on the grounds, Weatherall said they are fresh graves.

He also said the cemetery had replaced some headstones that were damaged by vandals.

The Grand Prairie NAACP has gotten involved after hearing complaints about the cemetery. Angela Luckey, the group's president, said her family members are buried there as well.

"This is the oldest African-American known cemetery that's in the city of Grand Prairie," she said.

Luckey said she has called the director of the Texas banking industry to ask for action.

"What the state is looking at doing is putting a cease and desist at this cemetery, not allowing the current owner to sell any more plots out here and to be able to get this cemetery up to standard," she said.

Weatherall confirmed that the owner of the cemetery is currently not selling plots.

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