Bone, slipper, panty hose, and hair found in grave at local - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Bone, slipper, panty hose, and hair found in grave at local cemetery

By Mackenzie Patterson - email

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -  East Porterdale Cemetery in Columbus has had its share of problems lately. 

In October, a grave was exposed revealing the skeletal remains of Carrie Mae McGhee, a local woman who died 55 years ago at the age of 38.  Ms. McGee was buried in a casket that deteriorated over the years seems to not have been covered with dirt revealing the open skeleton.  The cemetery now has other problems.

Chris Naughton, who discovered the skeletal remains four months ago, said he visits East Porterdale Cemetery often.  But, he said what he saw this weekend makes him angry.

Naughton showed News Leader Nine what he says he found in and around a new grave: things like old bottles, plastic, and bricks.   

"No one deserves to be laid to rest in garbage," said Naughton.

News Leader 9 went to the Muscogee County Coroner's office Monday to look at the items such as a bone, what appears to be human hair, panty hose, and an old slipper that Naughton said he found.

"You're having new graves and you're bringing up trash," said Naughton.

Naughton has been a long-time advocate for this cemetery.  One of his good friends is buried here.

"If I had the money now, I would have him removed because of the condition the cemetery is in," said Naughton.

Columbus City Manager Isaiah Hugley said East Porterdale was established in the early 1800s making it nearly 200 years old.  Hugley said the city is working every day to keep the old cemetery clean.  He said the trash Naughton found is not what people are buried with.

"What you see today is a mound of dirt.  They dug a grave a 5ft grave, and out of digging that 5 ft grave, you find bricks and some debris," said Hugley.

He explained the graves are then covered with new, clean dirt.  Hugley said the trash underground may be a problem from the past.

"There may have been some dumping going on when it was vacant property," said Hugley

Muscogee County Coroner Bill Thrower investigated some of the items Naughton found.

"The shoe, the piece of stocking, the hair, we know those are all items used by people, but as far as the bone goes it does not appear to be human bone to me, it appears to be an animal of some sort" said Thrower.

Thrower is taking pictures of the items and sending them to experts in Atlanta.  He said until those results come back, he cannot say for sure what each item really is.

For Thrower, Hugley, and Naughton top concern right now is showing respect.  Hugley explained that showing dignity and respect for the deceased is the city's main goal.  He said that the city has improvements planned for the cemetery such as planting new grass and trees.

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