Cook County to sue cemetery for expenses

July 21, 2009 at 9:35 PM
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CHICAGO, July 21 (UPI) -- The Cook County Board voted Tuesday to sue Burr Oak Cemetery owners to recoup the costs of investigating allegations that bodies were dug up and plots resold.

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said his office has accrued $326,000 in expenses during its investigation, primarily in overtime and materials, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Commissioner Deborah Sims told the board she has several family members buried at the cemetery near Alsip. Among African-Americans buried there are jazz singer Dinah Washington, Negro Leagues baseball players and teen Emmett Till, whose lynching in the 1950s helped spark the civil rights movement.

The board also approved a resolution to waive the county portion of the county clerk's death records fee for people trying to find information about family members buried at Burr Oak, the Tribune said.

The manager of the cemetery and three gravediggers were charged with desecrating bodies. They allegedly disinterred remains to resell the plots and pocket the proceeds, a scheme that may have brought in as much as $300,000, investigators say.

Police said as many as 300 graves may have been desecrated.

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