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BURR OAK HEADSTONE DATABASE COMPLETED

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009 — A web site created in the wake of the scandal at Burr Oak Cemetery now offers families the chance to search for headstones still in place at the Alsip cemetery.

The Cook County Sheriff’s Department today placed online 43,555 photos of headstones, allowing families to search for information while the cemetery is closed to the public. The site, www.burroak.net , allows visitors to search by last name.

The web site was created after four cemetery employees were charged with disinterring caskets and then re-selling burial plots to unsuspecting families. Those involved say the scheme impacted hundreds of graves.
Though the FBI and sheriff’s department has ended its on-site evidence recovery work, the cemetery remains closed to the public while a court-appointed receiver compiles accurate cemetery information from records that were neglected for years. In addition, the Chicago Burr Oak Cemetery Historical Society was formed in an effort to develop an appropriate memorial to recognize the tragedies that occurred there.

While that work goes on, families wondering about their loved ones’ final resting place can search the sheriff’s online database of photos. Though Burr Oak Cemetery is home to about 100,000 gravesites, fewer than half actually have a headstone. Available information about unmarked graves has been computerized and handed over to the court-appointed receiver at the cemetery. This will ultimately allow the receiver to respond to other families’ requests for assistance.

The Cook County Sheriff’s Department continues its criminal investigation and anyone with information about suspected criminal matters at Burr Oak Cemetery can contact police at 800-942-1950 or by filling out a form available at www.burroak.net/request.html.

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