Saturday, July 11, 2009

More on Burr Oak

CNN and the Chicago Tribunal have further details on this case. The sheriff's office has declared the entire cemetery a crime scene and the cemetery is closed to further burials at this time. Disturbingly, the Chicago Tribunal is reporting that "Babyland", an area set aside for infant burials, is either completely missing or many burials are missing. Lawsuits have been filed against the company that holds the cemetery, Perpetua LLC. Businessweek has the following descrition of Perpetua:

Company Overview

Perpetua, Inc. operates as a funeral home and cemetery acquisition/development company. It specializes in the areas of personalized funerals and the use of technology in the death care industry. The company owns and operates funeral homes and cemeteries in New York, Indiana, Missouri, and Illinois. Perpetua is based in Tuscon, Arizona.

To their credit, they do appear to have been one of the parties who contacted the sheriff regarding the removal of bodies from plots. They do not seem to follow good business practices in several other way though - for example, it appears that many of the records are missing or destroyed. Why were there no off-site copies of the records? There appears to have been no oversight or auditing process of the local cemetery records beyond finances. Cases such as the Tri-State Crematory in Georgia and now Burr Hill highlight the need for independent oversight and inspection, the same sort of oversight seen in many other industries.

There are rumors in the comments on some of the Chicago-area news sites that families had noticed the missing gravestones and disturbed graves and had filed complaints with the various authorities in charge of cemeteries in the area with no results. Hopefully they'll go to the press and push for their stories to be heard.

Update: 10:20 PM EST 7-11-2009

CNN is continuing to follow the story on their front page
, they've caught up with some of the local Chicago news outlets in reporting about "Babyland". I'll keep on following this story but I'm not going to do more than one update per day unless something happens that warrants it. Sphere: Related Content

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