Cemetery owner denies involvement in desecration

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Kelle Nolan, left, and Stephanie Jackson attend a memorial service. (AP Photo/David Banks)

ALSIP, Ill. (AP) — The owner of a suburban Chicago cemetery that’s been closed by authorities amid allegations that workers dug up bodies and resold plots says he had nothing to do with the alleged wrongdoing.

Melvin Bryant, president of Arizona-based Perpetua Inc., says he finds the conduct “despicable and deplorable.” Bryant says neither he nor Perpetua profited from the alleged scheme.

He says he feels sorry for the families who are left wondering what’s happened to their loved ones’ remains. He says he also has relatives buried at Burr Oak Cemetery in south suburban Alsip.

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart had noted Tuesday that Bryant hasn’t been to Burr Oak since the investigation began. Authorities have the monumental task of trying to identify who is buried in about 100,000 graves.

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