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300 bodies found stacked at Cook County morgue to be buried

CHICAGO -- Hundreds of bodies found stacked up at the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office will receive a proper burial Wednesday overseen by Francis Cardinal George.

The Cook County Funeral Directors Association and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago will bury 300 at Mount Olivet Catholic Cemetery on Chicago's South Side.


 

In January, it was revealed human remains had been stockpiled in the morgue’s coolers, some doubled up on trays, outraging many in the community.

A few families complained that the Medical Examiner's Office, which is led by Dr. Nancy L. Jones, had turned them away while searching for loved ones, only to find their family members in the morgue all along.

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The Archdiocese of Chicago’s Catholic Cemeteries offered up to 300 graves and services to help clear the backlog of remains.   

When commissioners asked last month why the offer wasn't accepted sooner, an administrator said the county wanted to make certain no individuals were buried in Catholic plots whose families wanted them buried elsewhere.

Last month, the Cook County Board approved measures making it easier to fire the chief medical examiner, who until now has enjoyed a virtual lifetime appointment. 

Cook County, Illinois, officials say they are being forced to change morgue procedures due to an overflow of unclaimed bodies. Charlie Wojciechowski reports.

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