Worker Says Indigent Babies Buried with Other Remains

February 22, 2011  |  

(Chicago Tribune) — An employee of the Cook County medical examiner’s office testified last year in court that the office had placed indigent babies in the same casket with numerous fetuses and other remains, contrary to what the office said last week was its policy.

After Sheriff Tom Dart last week called the way the county buries indigent and unidentified people “appalling,” the medical examiner’s office said it allows only the remains of fetuses and stillborn babies to be combined in a single casket. Otherwise, every body — even of young children — is individually placed in a casket, said Jessey Neves, a county spokeswoman.

But Michael McReynolds, an employee of the medical examiner’s office, testified in May in a Circuit Court trial that the body of a month-old baby who died in 2003 was placed in a casket with the remains of at least 42 others, often a combination of babies, fetuses and body parts, a transcript shows.

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