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Reburial of bones in Conception Bay South grave on hold while RNC investigation continues

Human remains, believed to date back to the 1800s, will eventually be reinterred at All Saints Parish church cemetery, from where they were taken.
Human remains, believed to date back to the 1800s, will eventually be reinterred at All Saints Parish church cemetery, from where they were taken. - Joe Gibbons

Human remains to eventually be reinterred at All Saints Parish church cemetery in Foxtrap

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. —

Skeletal remains that were taken from a grave in Conception Bay South last month have still not been returned to be reburied.

According to the Anglican Diocese of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador, church officials are waiting for the RNC to wrap up its investigation. Once that’s done, the church plans to have the remains reinterred.

“That will eventually happen. That will be part of this process,” Charlene Taylor, the diocese’s acting executive officer, told The Telegram Friday.

“Once we’re given the OK, when all investigations are done and everything is completed from that side of things, the bones will be released back to us and (a reinterment) will definitely happen.”

There’s no word when that will be. Responding to requests from The Telegram for an update Friday, a prepared statement from the RNC stated, “We continue to work with the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in connection with this file.

“We are unable to provide any further information at this time, as the investigation remains active.”

The human remains — which were stolen from a grave at All Saints Parish in Foxtrap — were located along the T’Railway, near Foxtrap, around 1 a.m. on April 6, after police responded to a call for service in the area.

Lucas Dawe was arrested after he reportedly attempted to boil the bones and drink the water, sources told The Telegram.

The 20-year-old is charged with possessing property stolen from All Saints’ Parish in C.B.S., as well as with interfering with human remains. The crimes allegedly occurred between Nov. 5, 2017, and April 5 of this year.

Dawe has pleaded not guilty and has a trial set for July.

The remains reportedly date back to the 1800s.

Taylor said it’s possible descendants of the deceased are still in the area.

Once the remains have been released by police to the church and a reinterment is scheduled, the parish will likely notify the public about when the graveside service will be held, she said.

“When we bury our loved ones, these spaces are their final resting places and now it’s been disturbed,” Taylor said.

“So, it’s important for the dignity of these people who were laid to rest quite some time ago that their bones be replaced where their loved ones buried them in the first place. It’s about respect.

“Even though they had been disturbed, it’s important that they be laid back to rest as they were so long ago and that it will be redone with the prayer and the blessing of the church.”

Taylor pointed out that human remains were reinterred at St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Harbour Grace on Sunday, May 19, by the parish rector, Rev. John E.K. Nicolle, and the bishop, the Right Reverend Dr. Geoffrey Peddle.

Taylor explained that several bones from unmarked graves were disturbed in 1992, when a breezeway was being erected between the Anglican Church and its parish hall. The bones were taken to Memorial University to be examined and researched by experts in the archeology department. They were returned Friday, May 17.

Taylor said researchers at MUN determined the bones represented about 20 people — men, women and children. Some of them might have been close to 200 years old.

“It is all about dignity. It is all about respect,” Taylor said. “And it’s about making sure when our loved ones are laid to rest, they truly are laid to rest.”

rosie.mullaley@thetelegram.com
Twitter: TelyRosie


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