Memphis community outraged over neglected cemetery - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Blair Simmons

Memphis community outraged over neglected cemetery

One Memphis community wants to drive snakes and rats out of their neighborhood. Neighbors said the pests are coming from one place, a neglected cemetery.

Not only is the cemetery abandoned, its become a dumping ground and a haven for criminals.

"It's real bad, I need to walk with you and show you some spots up on this end," says L.C. Burdett.

The word neglected doesn't even begin to describe what was found at Rose Hill Cemetery in South Memphis.

Burdett added, "I'd suggest we don't walk out in the grass too far 'cause it's dangerous."

16-acres of graves is so overgrown, you can barely find the headstones. They are sunken in, full of water and some so shallow you can almost see the caskets.

Neighbors say the snakes and rats that breed there are invading their homes. Neighbors also said the cemetery is not only infested with vermin, it's also a breeding ground for crime.

Empty beer cans, dead dog carcasses, overturned headstones, abandoned purses and evidence of prostitution were found in the area.

"It's a hotbed for criminals and things to come in the cemetery. They got to be to find these bags dumped down there," added Burdett.

The Ellingston Heights Neighborhood Association have been trying to get the place cleaned up for more than five years. They said the state begins clean-up but never follows through with funding or manpower.

"I feel that this is a forgotten community and somebody needs to come look in to things like they doin' now," said Daisy Davis.

The group said the state furnished the money to build a fence but the grounds go unmowed and unkept for several months at a time.

Neighbors said inmates cut the overgrowth once but they haven't been back in a really long time. 

State Representative G A Hardaway said Rose Hill Cemetery is appalling but it's not the only neglected cemetery in Memphis.

In fact, he's trying to compile a list to get something done about them.

If you have a neglected cemetery to report, you can call his office in Nashville at 615-741-5625.

Click here to email Blair Simmons.

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