A number of bodies were found in a back section of the troubled Burr Oak cemetery in Chicago, according to reports, remains which were allegedly dumped by the cemetery’s owners.
“There are more people listed as being buried in the cemetery than can physically be buried based on space,” Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart told NBC Chicago March 21.
Chicago-based company Archaeological Research Inc. surveyed the cemetery and found that bodies were buried in a previously unused portion of the cemetery in ground that was littered with broken headstones, branches, leaves and excess soil.
In a statement released to the press, lawyers for Perpetua Holdings, the company responsible for Burr Oak, said that this development is not unusual and they plan to fight the allegations.
“In the case of a cemetery as old as Burr Oak Cemetery, it is not uncommon for such an area to contain some human and wooden coffin remains,” the statement said. “Prior to the use of concrete vaults, these wooden coffins deteriorated very quickly.”
The African-American community in Chicago is particularly outraged over the developments because Burr Oak was one of the first cemeteries in the city to allow Blacks to be buried.
“There has to be complete closure for these families,” Dart continued. “The only way to do that is to forever designate that back area as a memorial to all the people who are there and who may be there.”
In July 2009, the cemetery’s manager Carolyn Towns, along with workers Keith Nicks, Terrence Nicks and Maurice daily were charged with dismembering human bodies.
According to reports, the cemetery is searching for a new owner. If one isn’t found, the government may have to take ownership of the cemetery.