Baby graves missing in Illinois cemetery

July 11, 2009 at 6:44 PM

CHICAGO, July 11 (UPI) -- Investigators have been unable to locate the section for infants' and other children's graves in Burr Oak Cemetery in suburban Chicago.

The manager and three gravediggers at the historic black cemetery in Alsip, Ill., have been charged with emptying graves and reselling the plots. Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said Friday the entire "Babyland" section appears to be missing, the Chicago Tribune reported.

"This has been horribly, horribly difficult," Dart said. "I can't tell you how many mothers can't find their babies."

Brittney Blair, a spokeswoman for the sheriff, told the Chicago Sun-Times at least 10 parents with infants buried in Burr Oak have reported being unable to find a headstone. She said the bodies may be appropriately buried, but the families have no way to locate them.

"We find it particularly heart-breaking that a mother could walk into a cemetery and not be able to find her baby,'' Blair said.

The cemetery was declared a crime scene Saturday, and families were told it would be off-limits for at least five days.

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