Ten years after Burr Oak scandal, complaints about cemetery persist

Image 1 of 3

This week marks ten years since employees at Burr Oak Cemetery in Alsip were caught digging up caskets and dumping the remains so they could resell burial plots.

The shocking revelations led to new ownership at Burr Oak. But families who gathered there Tuesday say the cemetery still has big problems.

Norma Wright says her Uncle Jesse was buried at Burr Oak Cemetery in 1989. She remembers his casket being buried right on top of another one.

“And it was a brown casket. If I’m not mistaken, or bronze, or whatever and he went right on top of it,” she said.

Wright says nobody can find his gravesite anymore. She didn't know that stacking caskets like that was wrong, until a scandal hit the cemetery ten years ago this week. Wright was one of several people who showed up to mark the ten year anniversary Tuesday.

Some say Burr Oak still has serious problems.

“It's not fit for the dead to be buried here! Especially my mother,” said Zeola Thomas Hill.

The cemetery's current owners, who took over three years ago, say they have not neglected the gravesites and roads.

“We are addressing it, it's not being neglected. And we're working with the best that we can,” said Burr Oak Cemetery manager Kevin Carter.

The organizer of Tuesday’s gathering doesn't blame the current owners, but says he doesn't want to be still complaining ten years from now.

“We have people coming out here who can't get to their graves and we would like to have some proper access to their graves,” said Edward Boone of Friends of Burr Oak Cemetery.

A cemetery manager and three employees were convicted in the Burr Oak scandal, although one of those employees later had his conviction tossed out.