Families seek answers in cemetery scheme

July 10, 2009 (ALSIP, Ill.) We know the soul rests in peace. The desecration of bones though is criminal neglect. That's why this place should be closed down the it's a crime scene until there is a reorganization of the books," said Tyron Page whose mother was buried at Burr Oak.

Thousands of families are waiting for word on their loved ones remains. ABC7 talked with some of those families on Friday.

As many as 300 bodies have been removed from their graves at the historic African-American cemetery Burr Oak. The plots were allegedly resold for profit.

The cemetery was the once sacred place that families felt they could bury their beloved family members who have passed. Many told ABC7 they now feel betrayed and violated.

Tyron Page, 21, lost his mother Mary Ann MacMiller when he was two years old. She was buried at Burr Oaks her gravesite is now an empty hole. He does not understand how someone could do this to his mother.

"They left an empty hole at her gravesite," said Page.

Barbara Scott now is carrying a picture of her niece, 15-year-old Deborah Ray, who was murdered in 1975. She was buried in Burr Oaks.

"Dig up the graves and plant somebody on top of it, that's outrageous," said Scott.

Scott says she will be going to the cemetery on Monday with her sister.

"I couldn't believe this was happening but it is happening and think it's happening alt more than one cemetery too. It's a travesty," said Scott.

Cindy Bracy is a nurse who works from home. She says her parents Geraldine and Lawrence Bracy were buried in Burr Oaks along with a number of aunts, uncles and cousins. Bracy says she has been complaining about the cemetery for years.

"I have visited my mom. The area is flooded with water but she seems to be in the same spot and my dad's headstone was still in the same place. But I am concerned regarding my uncles," said Bracy.

Bracy says she feels violated.

"It's devastating….those are your family members you laid to rest in peace and to find someone just discarded them, dug them up and threw the bones away, seeming to have no concern or compassion, I don't know how they sleep at night," said Bracy.

Bracy says she's willing to go through DNA testing in order to find out if the bodies and gravesites of her family members have been tampered with.

Copyright © 2023 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.