Dart Calls Baby Burials “Appalling”

Tom Dart proposes bill to end mistreated burials of poor

After uncovering the desecration scandal at Burr Oak Cemetery in 2009, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart on Thursday called for legislation to reform indigent burials in Cook County.

Dart pointed to complaints at Homewood Memorial Gardens, which has held the county contract for indigent burials since 1980. He cited babies being buried 10 to 15 to a box, some with animal remains.

"From a law enforcement standpoint, it's disturbing," Dart said. "From a human standpoint, it's appalling." 

There currently is no law protecting these burials, Dart said. He wants legislation that would stop burying multiple bodies in one casket and control the number stacked on top of each other.

Flimsy boxes being stacked 8 to 15 deep negates chances of identifying loved ones and could impede future criminal or missing person investigations, he said.

A mother of an indigent baby on Thursday placed flowers on an unmarked spot at Homewood Memorial Gardens. The cemetery cannot pinpoint with certainty where that mother's baby actually is at rest because of multiple babies buried in one box.

"Babies are buried 10, 15 to a box.  They're buried in there with animal remains.  They're buried in there with arms and legs from body parts they found during the course of the year.  It is not anything that our county or society should ever sit there and say is acceptable," said Dart.

Desecration at Burr Oak Cemetery
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