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Mass burials for indigent infants

CHICAGO, Feb. 22 (UPI) -- The medical examiner's office has provided differing accounts of how indigent infants are buried in Cook County, Ill., court testimony indicates.

Last week the office said its policy was to place only fetuses and stillborn infants together in a single casket but last year an employee testified all indigent babies were buried together, the Chicago Tribune reported Tuesday.

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A Cook County Circuit Court transcript from May 2010 shows employee Michael McReynolds testified the body of a month-old baby had been placed in a casket with the remains of at least 42 others.

McReynolds said the medical examiner's office would add dead infants to a single casket over the course of several weeks, perhaps even longer, before sending it off for burial at Homewood Memorial Gardens.

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart has called the way the county buries indigent and unidentified people "appalling."

Dart criticized Homewood Memorial Gardens, in the Chicago suburb of Homewood, for stacking caskets on top of each other.

The move made it difficult, if not impossible, for families to eventually locate relatives.

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