Detroit police uncover wrong bodies buried in graves following cemetery exhumations last June

Detroit Police found themselves a little optimistic, a little confused after exhumations they performed earlier this year.

Two months ago, the Detroit Police teamed up with the FBI to conduct Operation UNITED. The police's objected was to connect the bodies buried in two Wayne County cemeteries to homicide victims from years past.

"The goal of the operation is to extract DNA with the purpose of helping us identify victims of homicide," said Deputy Chief Marlon Wilson. 

Operation UNITED, or Unknown Names Identified Through Exhumation and DNA, was designed to identify victims of homicide going back as far as 1959 who don't have DNA on file. On one hand, police found success when digging up seven bodies at the Knollwood Cemetery. 

On the other hand, their investigation at the United Memorial Gardens in Plymouth turned up the wrong bodies.

"It's concerning, very difficult but our members are dedicated and their goal is to try to bring closure to these homicide cases," said Wilson.

The unidentified victims of homicide that the police were after weren't in their intended graves. That could spell trouble for the staff at the cemetery, despite their help offered to the police during the dig. 

While they said they don't know anything about the mix-up, the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) said charges could come later.

"It could range from administrative sanctions to a criminal charge," said Wilson.

Along with the FBI, anthropologists also assisted the DPD in their efforts. The search for the seven homicide victims range in age from one-day old to 45 years. Detroit police are now asking families of missing loved ones to please come forward and submit their DNA to help identify the victims. 

The DNA of the missing bodies was submitted to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons system.