DNA tests say man's body buried in woman's grave

DNA tests say man's body buried in woman's grave
Rochelle Thomas
Rochelle Thomas

(WMC-TV) - A Memphis family is outraged because a family member's body appears to be missing from her grave.

Linda Jones says she is not going to stop until she sees, with her own eyes, that her sister has truly been laid to rest.

Jones' sister, Rochelle Thomas, died in a 2004 car accident in Mississippi.

"After crying so long, it becomes a dry tear. It's running inside," said Linda Jones. "We have nowhere to go to put down flowers. We have nowhere to go when it's her birthday, a memorial day, or mother's day."

After the closed-casket funeral, Jones said she got really worried because official photos of the deceased did not match her sister, along with other issues.

"They wouldn't give us her belongings. Like, you know, when someone dies," said Jones.

Jones said she eventually got Coahoma County to exhume her sister's body.

Some of Thomas' children, who were ages 6, 10, 11 and 19, were there for the exhumation.

"The results came back and he was a man," said Jones.

Action News 5's Kontji Anthony contacted Heavenly Rest Cemetery to ask why remains of a man were found in a woman's grave.

"Are you taking any action to help this family?" Kontji asked.

Owner Otis Redmon did not want to do a phone interview and he said he was not familiar with the situation.

"The wrong body was buried in your cemetery, but you have no information about it?" asked Kontji.

So, Action News 5 contacted the coroner's office that first helped discover the remains were male.

They say they re-tested the DNA and released later results confirming the body was in fact Rochelle Thomas.

But Jones is not convinced.

"That body will be exhumed again," said Jones.

She said the family was never invited to the second burial and never saw the new test results, so they have no closure.

"She's somebody's child, she's someone's mother, she's my sister, she had friends," said Jones.

Next week is the anniversary of the first exhumation. Jones has not yet made a formal request for another one.

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