Spinal Cord and More Unearthed in Delray Beach Backyard

Categories: Palm Beach News

Otis, a German Shepherd-Lab mix who found the remains.
The house is currently owned by Delray Community Land Trust, an organization that finds decent housing for low- and moderate-income individuals. Lakatos was told if the lab results confirm that the remains are human, she and her roommates would have to vacate the property.

The first bone Otis found last Saturday. It's a femur.
The house is located a block from the Delray Beach Memorial Gardens, a cemetery owned by the City of Delray Beach. The graveyard was founded in 1902 by the Ladies Association of Linton and currently covers almost 40 acres between SW Eighth and SW Tenth Avenue, and SW Tenth Street and SW Sixth Street. However, a city council record from 1926 suggests that there are unmarked graves outside of the cemetery's borders. Graves were marked during that time with wooden stakes that the 1926 records say "have rotted away and in many instances there is no record either as to the owner or occupant of the grave."

The city council record explains that an effort was made to contact the owners, friends, and relatives of those buried to pinpoint the location of the different sites. "It is also noted that many of the graves are not located on the lots which they are supposed to be, there are many in the streets and out of bound," the record states.

"The city is using every reasonable effort to relocate all graves, and as soon as this is done will re-plat the cemetery, and place the streets in the most convenient and accessible place," the 88-year-old document states. However, the city of Delray Beach didn't expand the cemetery for another 69 years, not until 1995, years after the surrounding area had been developed for housing.

The remains of what forensics believes to be a severed spinal cord.
Regardless of the bones' identity, Lakatos and her roommates are curious. They bought a Ouija board in an attempt to communicate with the owners of the bones on their land. But so far, she says, their attempts have been futile.

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