CBS 2 Chicago wbbm7801059 670 The Score

Local

Cemetery Burial Reforms For Indigent Proposed

The indigent burial site at Homewood Memorial Gardens. (Credit: Cook County Sheriff's Office)

The indigent burial site at Homewood Memorial Gardens. (Credit: Cook County Sheriff’s Office)

Get Breaking News First

Receive News, Politics, and Entertainment Headlines Each Morning.
Sign Up

CHICAGO (WBBM) — A Cook County commissioner will propose at tomorrow’s board meeting that the county do a better job of burying the indigent and unidentifiable.

Cook County Commissioner John Fritchey says the way county burials are done at Homewood Memorial Gardens would make your stomach turn.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Bernie Tafoya Reports

“We have uncovered situations which we have had multiple bodies put in the same burial shell,” he said. “Human remains mixed with animal remains … caskets buried eight deep, turning part of the cemetery, essentially, into a human landfill.”

A total of 137 county burials were done at Homewood Memorial Gardens. The cemetery has a $167,000 contract with Cook County to carry out about 250 burials a year. The cemetery has had that contract since 1980, but Fritchey says the cemetery has been running out of space.

Fritchey would like to see the cemetery’s contract canceled and the process opened up for bidding.

Fritchey says “any small amount of [extra] money” would be worthwhile to make sure “we are taking proper care of the people who were least fortunate among us.”

Fritchey says there’s also a law enforcement component. He wants to see DNA samples taken from unidentified bodies in case police later need to match it with either a criminal suspect or victim in a case.