Family shock at empty grave in May Pen Cemetery

May Pen Cemetery

Jimmy Jackson’s family members spent hours chopping through overgrown shrubs searching for his final resting place in May Pen Cemetery last December.

Jimmy was buried 25 years ago, and his family members made visiting his tomb an annual ritual. That was until his mother migrated to England. However, she returned to the island last December to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Jimmy’s burial. Among other things, the family members had plans to ‘tomb’ Jimmy. Having identified his grave, which had the markings ‘RIP Jimmy’ on it, they left the cemetery to fine-tune plans for a big day of work the very next day.

But they were in for a massive shock when they returned.

“The grave was dug up and cleaned out,” Jimmy’s brother, Jermaine said.

“We know the grave because we have been going there for years. We (are) used to the space. We went there the day before and clean it up … chop bush and clean up the dirt the Thursday, to carry the workman the Friday. When he was just buried, we wrote ‘RIP Jimmy’ on it and that was still there Thursday,” Jermaine, said.

“Two other graves were dug up also. They were emptied out, cleaned out and everything.”

They reported the issue to the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC), but it was to no avail.

“We went to KSAMC and dem put we on to somebody. The person gave us Robert Hill’s number to call and go further with it and stuff like that. We called him and never got through, so we were not able to file a report,” he explained.


Meanwhile, the disappearance of Jimmy’s remains from his grave has sent the family into mourning yet again.

“When we saw it like dat we were traumatised. We were just so lost … we tear up in pieces. Right now, we feel so bad. How somebody coulda do dis? Tek out a person family member? My mom was broken, and now we a try we best fi comfort her right now. She cried fi like two days straight. She was just so broken. Nobody coulda go near har,” he said.

There have long been whispers that persons have been engaged in the practice of emptying old tombs in cemeteries, repainting them and selling them to unsuspecting mourners. This has never been proven.

However, there have been instances where skeletal remains have been found scattered in the May Pen Cemetery. In 2010, for example, dozens of skulls were seen in a section of the cemetery. At the time, cemetery workers said that many of the bones were from paupers’ graves. They say these persons are very often not buried as deep as others and, in some instances, their remains were dragged from shallow or eroded tombs by scavenging animals.