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A Sorry Sight at Homewood Memorial Gardens

Caskets with bodies were stacked and unburied until the Cook County Sheriff stepped in this weekend. NBC 5 and the Chicago Tribune were on the story.

News reporters were in the south suburbs on Saturday covering another misstep in the handling of the deceased at Homewood Memorial Gardens cemetery in Thornton, where 11 coffins with bodies inside were found stacked atop one another.

The Cook County Sheriff intervened and oversaw the burials, according to NBC Channel 5's Christian Farr and the Chicago Tribune's John Byrne.

The bodies were left unattended for up to a week, according to Byrne:

Dwayne Cook discovered the bodies in the chapel Wednesday while trying to visit the gravesite of a friend, Hershal Jordan, who had an internment ceremony at the cemetery earlier this week. Cook said cemetery employees guided him to where they said Jordan, who was to be buried through a state aid program, was laid to rest in an unmarked grave.

"When I got there, I said 'Something's fishy here,' " Cook said. "I just had a feeling. It didn't seem like a fresh grave." He let himself into the back room of the nearby chapel and found Jordan's casket and those of 10 other people scheduled for the state aid burials still inside.

Charges have not been filed. Cemetery owner Tom Flynn told the Tribune that its regular backhoe operator was fired on April 6. The cemetery at 600 Ridge Road, just east of Halsted, was then overwhelmed with indigent burials from Cook County, Flynn told the Tribune.

Reports NBC 5:

“Our main concern is to make sure these individuals receive a proper burial so they aren’t stacked in the back of a chapel and then our investigation will continue,” said Cook County Sheriff Detective Jason Moran.

All eleven coffins were considered public aid burials, according to police.

Last February, Sheriff Tom Dart uncovered . Dart also said he witnessed as many as 26 babies buried together in the same wooden box as assorted items identified only as "mixed tissues" at the cemetery.

Janice Wilson April 16, 2012 at 06:46 PM
This is so sad for anyone to be treated like this.
Anita April 16, 2012 at 09:34 PM
When is this going to stop happening! This is so wrong to disrespect these bodies. They were somebody's son, somebody's daughter! The penalties must not have been great enough for this to continue happening. If it was found here (thank you Dwayne) it has to be happening elsewhere too.
Dwayne Cook April 17, 2012 at 07:24 PM
Anita, this is Dwayne Cook. Thanks so much for your remarks. It's nice to know others appreciate the work you have to do to bring justice about. Thanks to everyone's feed back. By the way, Hershal was in the army for 8yrs. They treat a veteran like this? The Bible says that the love of money is the root of all evil. How sad!

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