City: It wasn't a mass grave

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - When city workers in Montgomery overturned a possible mass grave, the nation took notice. For weeks the bones have been the subject of speculation, but now the city is ready to put the story to rest.

The bones that captured the interest of millions, are no longer buried in the dirt lot where they were found. Investigators removed them to an undisclosed location, and it's only a matter of time until they will be moved again.

Unearthed by city workers and initially dubbed as a mass grave, it turns out to be anything but.

"What they have found is not a mass grave," Mayor Strange said. It's simply an extension of Oak Hill Cemetery where jagged burial plots were made outside the cemetery's property lines.

Strange said all the remains were dated to the 20th century.

Forensic anthropologists used pieces of plastic dentures and buttons to learn more about the 17 people who called Montgomery home. Now, the city is focusing its efforts on a peaceful way to reinter the remains.

Assistant Maintenance Director Greg Jones said, "We'll actually get 17 individual watertight containers...then the body bags will be laid East to West in the center of the area..." Then the land will become a green space fenced and annexed into Oak Hill Cemetery.

The city plans to have a solemn ceremony at the site to honor the remains. Since the city can't build the storage facility near the maintenance department officials hope to gain a new piece of property called "no man's land" on the outskirts of Montgomery for its new location.