MPD And Neighbors Clean Up Blighted Cemetery

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(Memphis) A final resting place in South Memphis has been called a haven for drug deals and prostitution.

Just two years ago, someone killed a woman and dumped her body at the Mt. Carmel Cemetery off Elvis Presley and Elliston.

The cemetery is home to many local heroes, including, Tom Lee.

People here however say Mt. Carmel Cemetery is also a haven to criminal activity.

Wednesday, officers used crime tape to keep people away, as they cut down and cleaned up overgrown trees at Mt. Carmel Cemetery.

Teveka Broome thinks crime tape isn’t a bad idea, she says the owners of the cemetery are crooks, “They need to be prosecuted."

Teveka's grandmother and aunt are buried here, but she can’t visit their grave sites, an oak tree nearly crushed them.

“I ride pass them every day, but I haven’t been here since 2007,” said Broome.

That is until Wednesday.

Teveka was one of dozens of volunteers and officers cleaning up the historic cemetery.

“What all have you all found here?,” asked WREG’s Elise Preston

“Beer cans, bottles, sexual parts and everything else,” replied Officer Parz Boyce with the Memphis Police Department.

Down the street at Hollywood Cemetery, there's another mess.

It looks like a wild field, but if you pull back tall weeds, you'll find tombstones.

Both cemeteries are owned by the same company, Mt. Carmel Incorporated.

Neighbors like Joyce Hester are doing everything they can to clean up both cemeteries and keep them clean, “It’s depressing, very depressing."

Officers say if enough family members of the people staying here petition the district attorney, the cemetery owner could be charged and face prison time.

Teveka is thankful MPD is getting involved and she can get back to visiting her loved ones.

“We brought them here to be close,” said Broome.

Later this month, the owners will face a judge to see if they need to pay out $300,000 to help pay for upkeep of the cemeteries.