Atty. Ben Crump Demands Probe Into Finding of 215 Bodies Buried Behind Mississippi Jail

Many of the families of the deceased never knew they were buried because they were never contacted by authorities.

Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump is calling for a federal investigation after the discovery of 215 bodies that were buried in a cemetery behind a Mississippi jail.

The Chicago Crusader reports that the remains were discovered in pauper’s cemetery behind the Hinds County Penal Farm in the “The Magnolia State” and Crump is searching for answers from the authorities.

Crump along with Reverend Hosea Hines, senior pastor of the Christ Tabernacle Church and the national leader of A New Day Coalition for Equity and Black America, want to know why officials failed to investigate the deaths of the victims and why the authorities never contacted the families. 

“People all across America are scratching their heads in disbelief about what’s happening in Jackson, Mississippi, with this pauper’s graveyard,” Crump said at news conferences in December. “It went from talking about the water” that was non-existent or contaminated, “to now we’re talking about the graveyard. What is going on in Jackson, Mississippi?”

“It’s unfortunate that we are living in a world that is college-educated and super sophisticated as it relates to telecommunications and IT,” Hines said in a recent interview.. “The amount of mistakes that were made, as to individual families not being notified about the deaths, is really unbelievable.”

Third Man In Mississippi Buried In Pauper's Grave Without Family Knowledge

Hines also criticized Joseph Wade, chief of the Jackson Police Department for allowing the burials to 

“A lot of these things that have happened were not under the watch of Joseph Wade, the chief of the Jackson Police Department,” Hines added. “He has instituted a new death notification policy that would give relatives information about their deaths and the cause.

In December, the family of Jonathan David Hankins, 39, learned of his death from news outlets on Dec. 4, instead of through local authorities making him the third victim to be buried without the family being notified. Hawkins, who was first reported missing in June 2022, was also burned at the same location.

Speaking with NBC News, Gretchen Hankins, Jonathan’s mother expressed the emotional trauma she’s experienced since the ordeal began.

“I want people to know that somebody is not doing their job and making folks go through what I’ve been through,” said Gretchen Hankins, who believed her son died of a drug overdose. “They can’t even do the job of notifying a dead person’s next of kin,” she said in the report. “They probably just thought, ‘Another drug addict, gone.’”

On Dec.1, Marrio Moore was buried in the same field after being “beaten to death and found wrapped in a tarp” in February. Until Moore’s body was buried in a pauper’s grave on July 14, it was held in the Hinds County morgue. Moore’s family didn’t find out about his burial until eight months after he was killed.

Crump accused the authorities of neglect and said that the families deserved to be informed of their loved ones' death with dignity.

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