Cemetery And Remains Desecrated.. By Owners!
Imagine: A 150 acre cemetery, graves have been robbed, headstones moved, and the bones of the deceased lie bleaching in the sun. Weeping mothers wander among the lost, searching for the graves of their children. Mass graves of the unknown, people who were once beloved mothers, fathers or grandparents, now sit unmarked, waiting for someone to claim them.
This isn't the beginning to a great ghost story. Nor is it another plea for those interested in the paranormal to respect our cemeteries. It isn't even another story about heartless teen vandals. It is about greed.
The cemetery is Burr Oak in Alsip, Illinois, and the vandals are none other than the management and employees of the cemetery: Carolyn Towns, 49, of the 7500 block of South Yates; Keith Nicks, 45, of the 900 block of West 129th Place; his brother Terrence Nicks, 39, of the 12800 block of South Morgan, and Maurice Dailey, 59, of Robbins, IL.
The scheme played out like this: Carolyn Towns would seek out old, forgotten graves, her lackeys would then brutally smash open the liner and casket, haul the old body and shattered headstone away and dump them in a weeded lot. Towns would then illegally resell the gravesites to new grieving families and then destroy the paperwork. The end result, two families robbed, one family of the remains of their loved ones, and the second family robbed of any documentation of the burial of the recently deceased.
Burr Oak Cemetery is the resting place of Emmet Till, the Chicago youth who's brutal murder in 1955 helped spur the American Civil Rights Movement. His grave site has not been disturbed, however his original coffin sits rotting in a shed filed with other garbage. Till was exhumed in 2005 as part of an investigation into his death, and he was buried in a new coffin. His family would like to see the original coffin donated to a museum.
The owners of Burr Oak Cemetery supposedly knew nothing about the scheme, however many still want them held accountable, including the Cook County Board who voted to sue. The parent company, Perpetua, who has been absent during all of the scandal, is not a stranger to employee scams, another Perpetua employee embezzled over $200,000 from their St. Louis funeral home.
It has been learned that Towns managed another cemetery for Perpetua, Cedar Park in Calumet, IL. No evidence of wrong doings have been uncovered at that location.
Historically cemeteries that have been severely disrupted turn out to be haunted. Could Burr Oak be the next Bachelor's Grove? Only time will tell. But hopefully ghost hunters will have the class and tact to not show up with EMF detectors any time soon. Not only would it be in extremely poor taste, but the area is still under investigation and will be until at least Aug. 1.