crimesider

Chicago cemetery stacked bodies of the poor 8 deep

The indigent burial site at Homewood Memorial Gardens
Cook County Sheriffâ
Bodies Stacked 8 Deep At Chicago Cemetery
The indigent burial site at Homewood Memorial Gardens
Cook County Sheriff's Office

(CBS/WBBM) CHICAGO - Cook County sheriff's officials have found bodies stacked on top of each other - some buried eight at a time -- at a south suburban cemetery.

Sheriff Tom Dart says Homewood Memorial Gardens desecrated the bodies of people who couldn't afford to purchase burial plots.

Dart told CBS affiliate WBBM that he is appalled and disgusted about the indigent burials.  "We have been informed people are buried eight deep out there," Dart said. "There is no rhyme or reason. There is no grid system. You couldn't find people if you wanted to find them."

Homewood Memorial Gardens told WBBM they keep records for all indigent burials and provided a glimpse of records from 1980 all the way to 2011. Index cards show each person's burial lot and row number.

When WBBM reporter Suzanne Le Mignot asked employee Kelly McCarthy if an indigent person's burial spot could be located, she said, "Yes, within a foot of each way."

The cemetery's owner spoke to WBBM by phone. He says there's nothing in his current county contract that says coffins of the indigent can't be stacked on top of each other for burial. He says it's a question of economics. It costs $239 for an indigent burial. A single plot costs $2,200 per person.

But Dart said the practices are a violation of the cemetery's contract with county government to bury poor people.

"From a law enforcement (standpoint) we were disturbed," he said. "From a human standpoint, we were absolutely appalled."