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Thursday, April 29, 2010 — Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart is strongly voicing his strong opposition to the pending sale of Burr Oak Cemetery to a group of local business leaders.

At a bankruptcy court hearing this week, a sale was approved contingent upon the new owners being able to conduct new burials in the northernmost 10 acres of the cemetery.

A follow-up inquiry by sheriff’s investigators revealed the new owners want to conduct burials in the area Dart designated as “Crime Scene 1” during last summer’s horrific criminal case there. The area in question borders 123rd Street. Hundreds of bodies were dumped in this area, many buried just below the surface or tossed into a wooded area and ravine, as part of a grave-selling scheme that led to criminal charges against three cemetery workers and the cemetery manager.

The previous owners of the cemetery have voiced objections to any new burials happening in this area. Dart long expected the area to be home to a memorial for those whose loved ones’ remains had been desecrated. He also expected the cemetery to be closed to further burials.

Additionally, a study by the Cook County Sheriff and Cook County Assessor, which was conducted after all available records were collected, showed the cemetery likely reached its total possible capacity years ago.

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