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Search warrant executed at illegal Prichard cemetery ahead of court hearing

(WPMI FILE) Cederick McMillian
(WPMI FILE) Cederick McMillian

Embattled former funeral home operator Cederick McMillian will be back in court Thursday morning.

A hearing is scheduled on charges that Heritage Memorial Gardens cemetery was opened by McMillian, New Birth Community Church and Heritage Funeral Home without the proper permits.

McMillian was convicted of the charge in Prichard Municipal Court and appealed those convictions to the Mobile Circuit Court.

Ahead of the hearing, Prichard Environmental conducted a search with the assistance of the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office at the cemetery late Wednesday afternoon.

NBC 15 was told Prichard Environmental, the Mobile County Health Department, an MCSO deputy and another investigator were searching the property in regards to sewage and a septic tank.

In October, McMillian, Heritage Funeral Home and New Birth Community Church were all found guilty on three charges each: failure to obtain a permit, violation of moratorium, and failure to obtain a business license.

In early 2019, Prichard police stopped a burial at the location because the city had issued a moratorium on cemetery activity.

The city of Prichard later filed multiple citations against McMillian, his New Birth Community Church and Heritage Funeral Home for failure to obtain proper permits to operate the cemetery.

NBC 15 then found multiple families concerned about their loved ones who were buried at Heritage Memorial Gardens. Many wanted them to be moved because it was prone to flooding and they say it's an improper burial place.

READ MORE: Buried Secrets: NBC 15's full coverage