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Wayne County halts unearthing of Eloise Cemetery graves

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WESTLAND, Mich. – Wayne County officials have asked a group of volunteers working to uncover thousands of forgotten graves in a Westland cemetery to stop.

Wayne County spokesman Ryan Bridges said a cease and desist has been placed on the Eloise Cemetery Research Project, who started digging up and logging the nameless headstones several weeks ago. Bridges said the project didn't have the authority to perform the work, were defacing county property and creating hazardous conditions.

Read previous story: Hidden Eloise graves uncovered in Westland

The group is being asked to submit a proposed work plan through an existing nonprofit dedicated to preserving the history of the Eloise, a once-sprawling campus near the cemetery that contained a hospital, psychiatric facility and poorhouse.

Detroit Society for Genealogical Research member Patricia Ibbotson estimates nearly 7,100 people are buried in the cemetery.