Mo. floodwaters put halt on funerals, could expose graves

Published: May. 3, 2011 at 11:45 PM CDT|Updated: May. 6, 2011 at 8:35 PM CDT
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NEW MADRID COUNTY, MO (KFVS) - Coroners in both New Madrid and Mississippi counties are keeping a close eye on local cemeteries.

So far there have been no major concerns, but the New Madrid County coroner says in most cases-they can't bury the dead because of flooding issues.

Visitation services are being held.  Then the bodies are being stored at the funeral home.

Because the Army Corps of Engineers opened the levee at Birds Point in Mississippi County , Missouri , Monday evening, Mississippi County Coroner Terry Parker is advising the public that a number of cemeteries and grave sites in Mississippi and New Madrid Counties will be flooded.

This raises the possibility that caskets, burial vaults or skeletal remains may become uncovered and float or be washed along with the current.

Mississippi County along with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, the State Emergency Management Agency, the Missouri Funeral Directors and Embalmers Association and the National Guard, have been coordinating plans to handle the recovery, collection, identification and eventual re-internment of any remains that are disturbed by the water.

The public is advised that if they should see any displaced or floating caskets, vaults or skeletal remains, they should not try to recover them, but should report the exact location of the sightings immediately to the Coroner's office at McMikle Funeral Home at 573-683-3773.

While it is highly unlikely that this situation will cause any public health concerns, it is important that the recovery and collection be done by trained personnel in a coordinated manner in order to aid in proper identification and handling.

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