Cemetery Disgrace: City of Detroit neglects burial ground as gravestones stolen, vandalized

From the street, Forest Hill Cemetery looks like an overgrown vacant lot with a collapsing fence surrounded by garbage.

But drive to the crumbling brick entrance at Lyndon and Meyers and you’ll see vandalized granite and marble headstones buried in long grass. Plastic bags, glass bottles and candy wrappers are scattered throughout the cemetery and along the rusted fence. Headstones with names engraved in them are propped up against a ramshackle shed covered in litter.

The imprints from stolen grave markers dot the lawn.

Denise Sheffield said she’s disgusted every time she visits her dad.

“It makes me sick; it’s beyond disrespectful,” Sheffield said, pointing to knocked over headstones, broken glass and a cigar wrapper. “I’d take him to another cemetery if I could afford to.”

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.