‘Sacrilegious’ — Bodies Piling Up At Cook County Morgue

CHICAGO (STMW) – To the disgust of some staff, bodies are piling up at the office of the Cook County Medical Examiner, stacked atop each other in blue plastic tarps against a wall of the storage cooler because of ongoing financial woes, the Sun-Times has learned.

All the storage trays are full, and many have a second body on them, according to sources in the office. Some 400 adults and about 100 babies are currently being kept in the cooler designed for under 300, one source said.

“There are so many bodies in there now, they can’t keep it cool enough. The stench is like nothing I’ve ever seen,” another source in the office said. “I think it’s sacrilegious.”

Medical Examiner Nancy Jones said “yes, we do” have a larger than normal number of bodies at the office.

“What we currently have in our cooler is somewhere around 300 bodies,” she said. “There is not twice that number.”

Jones said there is a backup in burials of babies because of a change in a county ordinance. Last year, critics raised questions about the remains of babies and fetuses — many who had died at birth or as a result of miscarriage — being combined for burial. So county commissioners changed the ordinance requiring the remains of babies and fetuses be placed in separate compartments.

“We haven’t been able to do any infant or fetal burials because we are waiting for some special boxes to be designed and built,” Jones said.

“There are some [adult] bodies stacked on top of boxes right now in the cooler. They’re not going to be there much longer because some of them should be put in burial ‘shells’ [wooden coffins] because there’s [an indigent] burial coming up.”

Typically after examination or autopsy, bodies remain at the office for a few days until funeral directors pick them up for burial or cremation.

But when grieving families can’t afford a burial, the county takes over. Last fall, the medical examiner’s office revealed a controversial plan to donate to science the remains that go unclaimed after only two weeks ­unless families object. Others were still to be buried in the pauper’s graves in Homewood, for which the county previously paid $300 each. But a source said delivery of the “burial boxes” has stopped because the medical examiner’s office hasn’t paid the company that builds the them ­— another reason for the bodies piling up.

While Jones said there is no average for the number of bodies kept in the morgue, she said the increase in the number of bodies is the result, in part, of state aid to help pay for burials of those who die without any assets being slashed.

“That is really the big part of it,” Jones said.

The state last summer cut $13 million from the program. Last week, Jones said, the county received word that the state had reinstated funding.

© Sun-Times Media Wire Chicago Sun-Times 2012. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

  • willie


    • Afro

      If you want to see stench just take a look at Rahm Emanuel and Pat Quinn,
      then go down town around kedzie and 51st, then move up clark to the hommo section and look around it’s all stench oh lets not leave out the taco munchers in lil villa.

  • tom Sharp

    Worst county in the worst state in the union! TERM LIMITS OF ONE!!!

    • Zip

      Just a sign of the times. Cut cost when ever and where ever you can.


      • JohnRalph

        But don’t cut the politician’s salaries and perks or union jobs

    • Edward Thomson

      Plus whats really interesting is that since OBumma got elected the Blacks are killing each other and all types of crimes like murders, black Mob Flash Robberies , drive-bys etc etc are at record levels!…One would think they would be happy and on their best behavior seeing they have one of their own Finally in our “White House” but NOooOoOoOoO!!!



      • fabian edwards

        You sound like a complete jerk that I’ll love to meet so you can talk like that in my presence.

      • steve

        fabians all talk. trust me.

    • Vercingetorix

      The flow of bribe money must have stopped. Graft is Illinois.

    • Joanne

      This demonstrates the have and have nots. I spent close to 20k buring both my parents. We already owned a bural plot.

    • Jubal

      No. All politicians should be limited to two terms. One in office, the second in prison.

      • hasmat77

        They all get a third term – we call it compassionate death!

      • formerleewarmer

        did you know they bury politicians twice as deep?…its because deep down they’re really good people

  • Toonces

    The stench of Crook County is overwhelming.

    • AtlasObjectivist

      It’s completely out of control. How much longer will we allow liberal Democrats to destroy our cities and counties?

  • Steve Bayne

    They are keeping them on ice so they can vote in the next election,

    • zIti Amin

      Oh, golly, or ghouly, I think you are right

    • linda

      lol, that’s morbid Steve…but probably true!

      • Steve Bayne

        Yep! They’ll defrost them and they’ll join the other zombies who always vote the same way. In fact, one of them just might be the next Alderman from the 49th Ward.

    • bob

      That’s probably the truth.

  • http://ubni.org/2012/01/14/bodies-piling-up-at-cook-county-morgue/ Bodies piling up at Cook County morgue |

    […] ‘Sacrilegious’ – Bodies Piling Up At Cook County Morgue (chicago.cbslocal.com) Tagged with: Burial • Cook County Illinois • Health • Illinois • Medical examiner • News  If you enjoyed this article, please consider sharing it! […]

  • Gabe

    Simple solution. INCINERATE 4hours tops. End of problem.

  • roy heflin


  • ChicagObama

    So long as each of them votes for me twice, no issues, baby…

  • George

    Can’t wait for the government to do our health care.

  • Hector Bunny

    … i will always keep you close to my heart …
    … i won’t ever forget you …
    … remember me too …

    A Prayer for the Departed

    • James painter

      Thanks. At least.someone has a little compassion

      • Hazmat77

        compassion is for the living – it’s too late for the deceased.

        I seriously doubt that even one of the bodies in the Morgue actually complained about the overcrowding.


        We are all about compassion in http://www.NewNation.org

      • sailordude

        OK, I hope you are directing that to the parents of the 100 dead abandoned babies there and not to us!

  • brad

    Wait until after Election Day on Nov 6 when Obama loses. The bodies will really start piling up from the Chicago riots.

    • sailordude

      Now THAT will be must see TV!

  • http://www.fastnews.tv/?p=145895 Chicagoland: 500 Bodies Crammed Into Cooler Built For 300 At Morgue... | Breaking News

    […] (First column, 7th story, link) […]

  • Gibbs Bentley

    If government can’t manage dead bodies they have no business trying to control the living. Death care is the easiest service to provide and they can’t even do that right. Degenerates.

    ———– http://911essentials.com

    • Htos1

      Roger that!

    • lor

      I truely hope the government reads your comment. It is so true. But lets not get
      down and dirty with word choice at end. We are better than them.

    • The Mender

      Well said!

    • brad


  • Jewfromhell

    Saving them for Barry’s next Halloween Party?

  • The Mender

    This is disgusting and it’s only going to get worse, sadly, thanks to our electing leaders who are either entirely ignorant of the Constitution or entirely opposed to it.

    p.s. who wrote this article? Was there no editor available? Very, very unprofessional.

    ““What we currently have in our cooler is somewhere around 300 bodies,” she said. “There is not twice that number.””
    I believe you meant to type “now”, rather than “not”

    “…the medical examiner’s office hasn’t paid the company that builds the them ­”
    Builds “the” them?

    “While Jones said there is no average for the number of bodies kept in the morgue, she said the increase in the number of bodies is the result, in part, of state aid to help pay for burials of those who die without any assets being slashed.”

    …no explanation required.

    My editing services are available for a fee…

  • James Benoit

    This is a disgrace, but sadly typical of Chicagoland municipal mismanagement.

    What’s worse, Obama is trying to “Chicago-ize” our entire country – kind of like this.

  • john smith

    “hasn’t paid the company that builds the them ­—” someone needs to proof read this stuff. Jeeze

  • larry gig

    we said that todd was doing a bad job look at toni preckwinkle she is not doing a good job herself people who past away should be buried right after a autopsy or a examination that’s so sad if a body go’s unclaimed then the county should take care of them and stop puting the money in their pocket. if the government can’t manage dead bodies they have no business trying to control the living..

  • SickOfBigGovernment

    This practice of burying a body has got to stop… we need to cremate all new bodies because there simply isnt enough room on the planet any longer.

    • King Crab

      We’ve got plenty of dirt. If you laid bodies, side by side, the entire 2,777 miles from NYC to Los Angeles, you’ld need about 10.5 million stiffs. The annual US mortality rate is 2.4 million, or the same side-by-side bodies distance from NYC to Cincinnati. The world isn’t running out of dirt. You can feed ’em to the crabs and save alot of money.

      • Hazmat77

        why do you want to poison the crabs?

  • Another 5 letter word for Fraud... OBAMA

  • Patty

    Ahhhhhhhhhhh, I see Rahm Emanuel is doing a great job as mayor, NOT. World’s worst crew of politicians that all belong in prison!

  • larry gig

    do they have storage for people like you real sad now that’s stench.
    and it’s sad to say they had no editor available for a comment like this.

  • lor

    We all understand the cost of burials, if there is a problem then the city state
    should be cremating. Not puting these persons in wooden coffins.

    • sailordude

      Thats not the way its done for religious reasons. Just bury them like they do in New York City. After a year they bury on top of them if no one has claimed the body. It’s called Potters Field

    • cc

      Sailor dude

      Before the invention of corporate cemetaries and ENOUGH land to bury 100’s of thousands, we now have no place for 7 Billion to buried. I would like you to quote the canon law that states it is against God’s law to be cremated then I want YOU to remember that MAN made those laws…Inspired by GOD??? that defintely is questionable to say the least.

      All those sealed caskets being put in the ground with all those chemicals….
      Do you really think that is the good for mother earth?? A person that doesn’t question authority and the laws made by a few to control the many … I question that person. Dissidence is the greatest form of patriotism. You love GOD, I am not mocking you, I appreciate the fact that you have that kind of faith, but you don’t question your religious leaders, than look what happens ( Catholic Church for exmaple ) Always question dogmas and canon law, after all, they were written by men, some in BC some at the Council of Nicea in the 1100’s. I don’t even think we were a billion strong on the planet yet in that era Just saying….cc

    • Ghostsouls

      The cost of burial isn’t the only reason the bodies are stacking up. This is more than likely occurring in Killadelphia and Deadtroit as well. The number of deaths are exploding. The medical examiner can’t keep up with the autopsies, neither can forensics. Some have not even been identified, I am sure there is a “holding” period to try and identify a body, so the family can give them a proper burial and/or religious rights. This is getting to be an epidemic in some areas, like the two I mentioned above. When are community leaders going to step up and address their communities? What are they even holding office for, if not to serve their communities? Unfortunately because these high rate crime areas are in predominantly black areas, and everyone is trying to be politically correct, no one wants to say a word for fear of being called a racist. I don’t care what race it is, a problem is a problem, that needs to be addressed. The gangs are rampant. Whole sections of towns are taken over like the mafia did in the old days. Some police are afraid to go in certain areas and avoid it like the plague, and most often this is where these “bodies” are found. There have been plenty of stories about the crime rates and the deaths in these cities lately, so it’s only reasonable to assume the dead bodies left in it’s wake are the bodies that are piling up. Stop being politically correct and deal with the problem, that is the solution.

    • John E Phelan

      The median cost of a funeral about two years ago was around $5000 and the median cost of cremation was about $4000; in the U.S. Not sure that the modest price difference really makes any appreciable difference as far as solving this problem is concerned.

      As I see it, tax money was allocated and budgeted for a specific purpose. It seems that those funds may not have been spent for the purposes intended. Perhaps the question that should be answered is “how was the money spent” and if it wasn’t spent — “where is the money now?”



      • JJJ

        Oh yeah. Give or take another 200 bodies will CHANGE everything, huh?
        Maybe your facts…should be returned to Rahm, or Obama for approval before coming here to show us what a FOOL looks like.

    • bikertrash

      maybe they were just waiting to get them registered and out to vote in 2012

  • Terry Knows Moore

    Let me see…they must be all of the democrats poor…..

  • Ed

    Any bets that 3/4 of them are black?

    • sailordude

      and 1/4 His[panic.

    • brad

      I think the proper term is ‘people of color’ since ‘white’ is no longer considered a color.

    • brad

      Soylent Green?

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