Tombstones found near construction site

HOLLY RIDGE, NC (WWAY) — Construction of a new housing development is currently underway in Holly Ridge, but it’s also building controversy. Residents nearby are concerned developers may have disturbed a cemetery in the area.

“I was shocked and so was the bull dozer guy. He left and he didn’t come back.” Lori Emory, Holly Ridge, said.

That happened one year ago after a worker on The Preserve housing development in Holly Ridge noticed he had unearthed some gravesites, according to Emory. She and her cousin have lived in Holly Ridge their entire lives and they are concerned about the safety of these tombstones.

“Well it’s possibly some of our family, the Henderson’s and the Bishop’s,” Emory said. “It’s just sad they want to plow it under.”

“I would’ve liked to come down to see some of these things and found out who my relatives were and where they came from,” Jerry Chandler, Emory’s cousin, said. “But now, that chance is gone, it’s lost.”

Several graves still remain in the tree line just steps away from the newly bulldozed road. Some even are cracked and broken.

If this area truly is a cemetery, there can be some serious legal implications if you develop on it. Disturbing graves could come with felony charges. We reached out to the State Office of Archaeology who said they didn’t have a record of this area being a cemetery, but once we told them about the tombstones, they launched an investigation and contacted the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office.

While they try to get answers, chandler still has some questions.

“Which is worth more?” Chandler asked. “People’s lives and what they are about or putting a house somewhere? We’ve got houses all over the place, there’s thousands and thousands of acres for sale. Why would you have to tear up a graveyard?”

We’ve also reached out to both the developer and the builder, DR Horton, multiple times, but have not heard back.

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