Deputies available at Glenwood cemetery

July 28, 2009 (GLENWOOD, Ill.) Workers from an outside company found a human bone at the cemetery Friday. The Cook County sheriff is now investigating.

A lot of people with loved ones were asking questions, and sheriff's investigators want to help them get answers, trying to determine if they have another Burr Oak on their hands.

Relatives were looking for their loved ones Monday and the Glenwood cemetery. Many people said their relatives were simply not where they were supposed to be. Headstones and markers were missing, and emotions were running high.

"We don't have any crimes that have been committed out there yet, which is why we're asking folks to come out and help us gather facts. We can learn as much as we can to help them in this process," said Steve Patterson, spokesman, Cook County Sheriff's Police.

"It's rightfully hers and they don't have the right to take it because they're greedy and they want more money. They don't have that right," said Albernette Brown.

"I'm angry, sad and disappointed because that's my sister. We paid. We had a hard time getting that money up for that spot for them to just go sell it," said Sonya Martin.

"I was willing to accept the headstone's gone, but I know he's resting in peace right here. Now, I don't know he's resting in peace right there. I don't even know if the remains are there. And I never doubted that before because I could not, in all my wildest dreams, imagine someone digging up graves," said Ruthie Osborne.

Sheriff's investigators will be there every day from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. through next week talking to those concerned relatives. If you plan to meet with them, they say bring all the documents you have. Also bring a lot of patience.

Last Friday, one bone was found lying on the ground, according to police. The medical examiner's office determined it was human.

Some relatives say they always thought something was wrong with the cemetery.

"When my brother-in-law passed in 1995, I always believed that it was moved then because we requested that my brother-in-law be buried close to my mother and the way they shifted things then I had a question," said Deborah Fields.

Norma Roseman has a family plot at Mount Glenwood where eight relatives are buried.

"Nothing, nothing but an empty area here. I've counted it over and over and over again, and this is where it should be," said Roseman.

"I know where they had this headstone is not where my father was laid to rest," said Vincent Hunter.

Osborne's husband died in the Vietnam War. She can't find his gravesite.

"I went to the cemetery and the headstone was gone and it was a military headstone," said Osborne.

The discovery of the human bones falls on the heels of the scandal at Burr Oak Cemetery in Alsip, Ill., where graves were dug up and plots were resold in an alleged cemetery scam. The alleged scandal at Burr Oak has the state looking at new regulations.

No one at Mt. Glenwood has been accused of wrongdoing. The owner of Mount Glenwood was on site Monday.

"I'm so sorry because of what's going on at Burr Oak naturally they're concerned, and we do not want them to be one bit concerned. And if they'll just hang tight with us and let us have the investigation, it will come out," said Jeannie Walsh, owner, Mt. Glenwood Memory Gardens.

Lawsuits have been filed.

"My clients had reason to believe that there was something wrong at Mount Glenwood. They weren't getting the answers they needed and their last resort was to file suit," said Bardia Fard, lawyer. "These people are not innocent because they're messing with the dead, I wouldn't be able to go to sleep if I did these things," said Osborne.

While the owner said the situation at Mt. Glenwood is nothing like that at Burr Oak, several families had documentation that questions the cemetery's practices were raised quite some time ago.

"I've heard a lot of different things from other people out here as far as you having only rights for 25 years," said Roseman.

The Cook County Sheriff's Department is investigating, but there is no indication of any wrongdoing at this point, police said.

Investigators will also be at the Markham Courthouse (16501 South Kedzie Parkway, Markham) between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. for the remainder of this week (hours and availability beyond this week are TBD). Anyone interested in meeting with an investigator should proceed directly to the sheriff's police department offices, accessed by the ramp on the south end of the Markham court building.

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