Search team still on the job

Search and recovery teams still on the job

Madison County Sheriff's Deputies and Onondaga County Medical Examiners staff continue their search and recovery of skeletal remains after a Town of Cazenovia Cemetery mudslide.

Madison County Sheriff Ronald I Cary reports that the search and recovery operation for human skeletal remains in a mudslide that occurred on the evening of March 14 is continuing. The recovery process began on Wednesday March 28.

Recovery team members, working under the support and direction of the Onondaga County Medical Examiners Office, are sifting through about fifteen ten wheel dump truck loads of soil that ended up blocking both lanes of Lincklaen Road in the town of Cazenovia. It was initially not known that the mudslide was actually a portion of the St. James Cemetary until the Sheriff's deputy dispatched to the scene to assist with traffic discovered a human skull and other bones in the road. The discovery was made after several truckloads of mud had been removed from the blocked highway and taken to a location about a half mile from the cemetery.

Based upon cemetery records there appears to be at least eight gravesites that became disinterred onto the roadway. The age of the disrupted grave sites range from 1870 to 1920.

The incident occurred as a result of sudden snow melt and heavy rains associated with unseasonably warm temperatures.

The soil has since been transferred to a secure location behind the Madison County Highway Barn in Wampsville by the town of Cazenovia and Madison County Highway Departments.

The cemetery mudslide took place two days after the City of Oneida train derailment of March 12. Both events have placed a heavy burden on local law enforcement agencies.

The recovery process is a multi-agency effort with the recovery teams consisting of members of the Madison County Sheriff's Office, Cazenovia Town Highway Department, Madison County Highway Department, Onondaga County Medical Examiners Office, Anthropologists and students from the Maxwell school of Syracuse University Anthropology Department, Forensic Anthropologists and students from SUNY Oswego, Oneida City Police, Oneida County Sheriffs Office Forensic Unit, New York State Police Forensic Investigation Unit, Cazenovia College Police Academy students, and volunteer members of the Canastota and Eaton Fire Departments. Also supporting the Sheriff's Office are college interns assigned to both the Sheriff's Office and Onondaga County Medical Examiners Office.

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