More Bodies Found at Burr Oak: Sheriff

A local archaeological firm finds "layers of bodies" in an area used for waste.

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    Sheriff Tom Dart discusses human remains found buried throughout the northeast corner of the cemetery.

    Bodies were dumped in an unused corner of Burr Oak Cemetery "in far greater numbers than a 2009 criminal investigation originally found," Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said Monday. 

    According to a site survey done by Chicago-based Archaeological Research Inc., human remains were found buried throughout the northeast corner of the Alsip cemetery used as a "spoil area."

    The area is used to dump broken headstones, branches, leaves and excess soil from grave excavations. "Layers of bodies" were found buried deeply and just below the surface, according to the report. 

    “In every stage of this investigation human remains and related grave materials were encountered,” the report notes.

    Dart Says Halting Burials is the "Decent Thing to Do"

    [CHI] Dart Says Halting Burials is the "Decent Thing to Do"
    Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart says burials should be stopped at Burr Oak cemetery because it is already over capacity by several thousand people.

    The archaeological firm was appointed last year by a bankruptcy court judge overseeing the possible sale of the cemetery. The judge asked if it would be feasible for the 5.9-acre area to ever be used by new owners to conduct burials or build a mausoleum.

    Though many cemeteries eventually use the "spoil area" for burials, Archaeological Research Inc. said, it's not common for currently used spoil areas to also contain human remains.

    “Any future excavations into this spoil area for whatever reason will uncover human remains … therefore, it would not be appropriate to use this area for future burials,” the report states.