They were inseperable in life and Elvis was interred with his beloved mother Gladys, in the family tomb. Pictures went around the world of the coffin being carried by eight men into the huge marble and stone mausoleum, surrounded by mountains of flowers and extravagant floral arrangements. The King was dead and everyone hoped he could now rest in peace. But only days later a shocking late night attempt was made by three men to defile the body.
The police arrested the men inside the cemetery and they were charged with criminal trespassing as an interim measure while the authorities tried to work out what was going on.
Raymond Green, Eugene Nelson and Ronnie Lee Adkins had been caught before they had even started but one of them soon spilled the outrageous plan.
Adkins claimed the three were going to be paid $40,000 each for robbing the grave and then hand it over to a mystery person, who intended to demand $10million from the family.
But how were they planning on smashing through the marble and stone tomb or breaking open the 900lb copper casket?
The men had no tools on them, not any obvious vehicle.
Remember it had taken eight pallbearers at Elvis’ funeral to carry the heavy coffin – Jerry Schilling, Joe Esposito, George Klein, Lamar Fike, Elvis’ cousinBilly Smith, Gene Smith and the stars personal physician Dr. Nichopoulous.
Even more bizarrely, Memphis Police were tipped off by Adkins himself, who was an FBI informer.
What exactly was going on?
Who was really pulling the strings?
Eventually, all charges were dropped against all three men.
Meanwhile, on September 28, legal permission was given by the Memphis and Shelby County Board of Adjustment to relocate the coffin to Graceland.
On October 3, Elvis was returned home to Graceland and buried there, where his body remains in the Meditation Garden.
Years later, Adkins confessed to exactly what had happened, when he was placed in the witness protection programme after the horrific murder of his three children in 1992.
Adkins claimed Vernon Presley asked his friend, Shelby County sheriff’s deputy Billy Talley, to orchestrate the hoax.
Apart from the security reasons for moving the bodies, commentators have also pointed out the obvious financial advantages to having Elvis buried at Graceland, which is still a major place of pilgrimage, over forty years after his death.
Although, it would be another five years before Graceland actually opened to the public.
Furthermore, other rumours persist that none of Elvis’s family are actually buried at Graceland. The tombs and headstones are a focal point for fans, but the bodies are said to be buried somewhere else private for only family and friends to visit.
Published at Thu, 20 Aug 2020 13:01:00 +0000