Herrin City Cemetery controversy one step closer to resolution - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Herrin City Cemetery controversy one step closer to resolution

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The controversy over missing graves in the Herrin City Cemetery cleared another hurdle towards being resolved on Monday night. The controversy over missing graves in the Herrin City Cemetery cleared another hurdle towards being resolved on Monday night.
The area was set aside nearly a hundred years ago for the poor and unclaimed dead to be buried in, but a search for the grave site of Antonio Molkovich, a World War I Veteran couldn't be found. The area was set aside nearly a hundred years ago for the poor and unclaimed dead to be buried in, but a search for the grave site of Antonio Molkovich, a World War I Veteran couldn't be found.
The section of the graveyard that is at the center of the controversy is what's known as the Potter's Field. The section of the graveyard that is at the center of the controversy is what's known as the Potter's Field.
Council members who sit on the city's Public Works Committee learned a lot more about their potential cemetery troubles during a presentation by researchers with Southern Illinois University and Eastern Illinois University. Council members who sit on the city's Public Works Committee learned a lot more about their potential cemetery troubles during a presentation by researchers with Southern Illinois University and Eastern Illinois University.
HERRIN, IL (KFVS) -

The controversy over missing graves in the Herrin City Cemetery cleared another hurdle towards being resolved on Monday night.

Council members who sit on the city's Public Works Committee learned a lot more about their potential cemetery troubles during a presentation by researchers with Southern Illinois University and Eastern Illinois University.

The section of the graveyard that is at the center of the controversy is what's known as the Potter's Field.

The area was set aside nearly a hundred years ago for the poor and unclaimed dead to be buried in, but a search for the grave site of Antonio Molkovich, a World War I Veteran couldn't be found.

He's also one of the 16 men killed in the Herrin Massacre in 1922, who were buried in the Potter's Field section of the cemetery.

"In this particular study we've combined maps and data to make a very powerful visualization and animation to have a look at the data in a way you can not do by simple record books," said Steven Di Naso a Geoscientist in the Department of Geography and Geology at Eastern Illinois University. "What happens is the maps bring all the data to life. And bringing that data to life brings the internment history in the city cemetery in this Potter's Field to light."

But, now through that data, it's revealed there could possibly be recent graves on top of the older graves.

"I just think it's something that needs to come out," said Marlene Koerner of Herrin. "And it probably didn't have to happen this way, if right in the beginning there was more forthcoming, and more truth told. We wouldn't be in the mess we're in now."

Now the researchers are asking city leaders to take the issue back before a Williamson County judge, to overrule former Judge Ronald Eckiss' decision that there couldn't be any more excavation work at the cemetery in the search for the missing graves.

"We'll work directly with the city, the cemetery sexton, the council and certainly lot owners if need be," said Di Naso. "The evidence that shows that our area of interest is in fact the Potter's Field is actually from the city's own records."

The Public Works Committee members voted unanimously Monday night, to take the issue before the full council next Monday for a vote, to decide if the city takes it back in to a courtroom.

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