Cemetery descendents concerned about what will happen to 17 unid - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Cemetery descendents concerned about what will happen to 17 unidentified bodies

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CLARKSVILLE, Ind. (WDRB) -- Archeologists are trying to identify the remains of 17 people discovered through a southern Indiana road project.

Descendents of people buried in the Stewart-Emery Cemetery are concerned about what will happen with the remains.

The bodies were removed back in June from the cemetery on Blackiston Mill Road near East Lewis and Clark Parkway.

The section of Blackiston Mill Road near the cemetery is scheduled to be widened next year.

Kathie Miller of Jeffersonville has many relative buried in the cemetery.

“My third great grandparents are now missing essentially because I don’t know if they’re still here or if they’re in an archeology lab,” Miller said.  

Clarksville's town manager says he does not have the authority to allow the bodies to be tested for DNA.

Several descendents, including Linda Godsey, have offered to provide DNA samples.

“I talked with the archeologists and if we have DNA through all of the female line, we have a good chance of identifying the bodies,” Godsey said. “If we have DNA through a male line we will be able to identify bodies.”

Town officials say the bodies might have to be moved to another cemetery if they cannot find the space to put them back underground.

“It’s really unacceptable to remove our remains from here where we know they were, not knowing necessarily who they are and put them in a different cemetery,” Miller said.

The cemetery dates back to the early 1830s.

It is unclear if the 17 bodies have enough DNA material remaining to test.

Related stories: 

Clarksville asking people to come forward if they have ancestors buried near road-widening project

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