A gruesome revelation in Mississippi is alarming residents of the state and raising calls for an investigation. After over 200 bodies were buried near a local jail in a predominantly Black county, questions are growing over who these people are, how they died and how they ended up in bare graves behind the jail.

The Chicago Crusader reported that the 215 people discovered buried in a pauper’s cemetery behind a jail in Hinds County make up a multiethnic group of people who were “Black, white, Hispanic and Native Americans.” These individuals lay buried in simple graves marked only with metal rods and numbers, even as some of their relatives searched for them or reported them missing. Reverend Hosea Hines, who leads Jackson’s Christ Tabernacle Church and is the head of A New Day Coalition for Equity and Black America, has called for an investigation. “It really saddens my heart to know that their relatives went that long, some over a year, not knowing if their loved ones were dead or alive and then coming to the realization that they had been buried in a pauper’s grave behind a jailhouse,” Hines said, per the Chicago Crusader.

Civil Rights Attorney Ben Crump has joined Hines in seeking an investigation into the graves, arguing that it’s unknown if “racism, prejudice, or bigotry” played a role in any of their deaths, the Crusader reported. According to the outlet, Crump said at a December news conference that “people all across America are scratching their heads in disbelief about what’s happening in Jackson, Mississippi, with this pauper’s graveyard,” referring to the state’s capital city, which is located in Hinds County. “It went from talking about the water,” Crump said, referring to the city’s previous water crisis, “to now we’re talking about the graveyard. What is going on in Jackson, Mississippi?”

Mississippi authorities have been under scrutiny for their burial and notification policies since it was revealed that Dexter Wade was struck and killed by a police vehicle and buried without notifying his mother, who spent months looking for her son while authorities declined to tell her that he had died. A report about the case revealed that a second Black man, Marrio Moore, had been killed in a separate incident and buried on the same day and at the same location as Wade, again without his family being notified. The cases of Wade and Moore were part of a series of reports by NBC News on failures in the death notification systems used by authorities. This report eventually led the news organization to obtain county coroner’s records for Hinds County, which led to the identification of 215 people who had been buried in the pauper’s cemetery since 2016. The news network has published the names and basic identifying information about the 215 people in hopes of allowing members of the public to find their missing relatives or loved ones.

Regardless of whether there is a larger investigation into the burials in Hinds County, the unceremonious disposal of hundreds of bodies demonstrates a callousness at best. With national public attention and scrutiny now being placed on the county, however, it may reform the system that has left so many people searching for answers about their loved ones’ fates.