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Attorney general investigates bone thefts at cemetery

NEW ORLEANS -- For Keyona Parish, Holt Cemetery is where she comes to spend time with her mother, brother and grandfather.

NEW ORLEANS -- For Keyona Parish, Holt Cemetery is where she comes to spend time with her mother, brother and grandfather.

At least twice a week she comes to make sure their final resting place is well kept. But Monday, she learned of disturbing reports of people stealing bones, teeth and other human remains from graves in the cemetery.

"I think that's very nasty and disgusting, and how would you feel if that was your family?" Parish said. "No words to describe that."

In a recent Facebook post, one local woman describes how the bones wash up after it rains. She goes on to say this is where she gets her human bones for curse work and spells, and then asks if anyone would be interested if she started selling them.

But for Adam Stevenson, president of the organization Save Our Cemeteries, his reaction to the bone thefts wasn't one of surprise.

"Unfortunately I would love to say that my reaction would be, I can't believe something like this would happen, but unfortunately we see this far too often with a casual regard to such things," Stevenson said.

And when these things do happen, they call Ryan Seidemann. He's the man with the attorney general's office tasked with investigating theft at graveyards.

"We dealt with one of these problems last week and this one came up this weekend," Seidmann said. 

Seidemann said that Holt Cemetery is one of the worst with this problem. He explained that it's because unlike the other cemeteries in this city, the people buried are underground.

"The remains break down quickly and there is a lot of turnover in the cemetery," Seidemann said.

The penalty for such a thing may not be as steep as you think. It's a misdemeanor.

"What if that was your mother, your brother, or your father, or your child?" Parish said. "You wouldn't like that."