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East Austin Cemetery A Magnet For Crime
An East Austin cemetery has been an eyesore for years with over grown grass, trees and trash. It was founded in 1893 as the first cemetery for African-Americans in Austin. But neighbors say they are seeing people coming in and out at all hours -- and they are up to no good.
Travis County Commissioner Ron Davis contacted the sheriff's department, making it a community service project using convicted criminals to clean up the mess at Bethany Cemetery. The restoration efforts started in October of last year.
But now, others are using the area to illegally dump their trash. Creating what neighbors say is the perfect cover for crime.
"We've seen chicken sacrifices -- signs of what we believe is Santeria. We found condoms and drugs. There's just a lot of bad stuff at the back of the cemetery," says one local resident.
So why the hold up on the cleanup? It's owned by the relatives of the buried and most have since moved out of the city or passed away.
County authorities say they are working to get donations to build new fencing, fix headstones and clear the brush and branches.
By Angel Covarrubias