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Sheriff: 11 unburied bodies found at south suburban cemetery

Saturday, April 14, 2012
Chicago Tribune

The Cook County Sheriff's office is investigating a south suburban cemetery after 11 unburied caskets were discovered Friday afternoon.

Investigators were notified Thursday after a person was told their loved one had been buried but found the person was not, said sheriff's spokesman Frank Bilecki.

When investigators arrived at the cemetery Friday morning, they found 11 unburied bodies at a chapel atHomewood Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Thornton, Bilecki said.

All the unburied bodies were public aid burials that the manager of the cemetery had put off burying, Bilecki said. The state pays $1,600 for public aid burials. 

The manager told investigators an employee responsible for burials was fired or walked off the job and the cemetery did not have the ability to bury the bodies, Bilecki said. However, the management accepted 19 bodies from the Cook County medical examiner's office and did some paid burials, he said.

No charges have been filed, but the sheriif's office has notified the public aid department and the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, Bilecki said.

A spokesperson for the cemetery was not immediately available this morning for comment.

Some families were notified that burials will take place today, Bilecki said.




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