PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The search continues for answers in the MOVE bombing human remains controversy. Experts in the field of forensic pathology say there have been an incredible amount of missteps in this situation.
The Africa family calls it “incompetence.”READ MORE: 2 Atlantic City Councilmembers Request State Troopers Assist Police After Violent Weekend
Renowned forensic pathologist Dr. Cyril Wecht called the mishandling of human remains by the Philadelphia Medical Examiner’s Office “unbelievable.”
“I think this was absolutely despicable. It’s incomprehensible what they did here,” Wecht said.
The 90-year-old Pittsburgh-based physician and attorney who has performed in excess of 10,000 autopsies — and is famously noted for shooting down the Warren Commission’s single-bullet theory in the JFK assassination probe — says the fact some human remains of MOVE victims were left to sit at the Medical Examiner’s Office was an affront to the profession.
He said the remains should have been returned to the next of kin weeks after they died.
“We as forensic pathologists, medical examiners, coroners, have a deep-seated duty to treat families with the utmost respect. Every autopsy I do I think of the families,” Wecht said.READ MORE: 6 Day Workweeks And Poked By Needles: YaFavTrashman Fighting For Philadelphia Sanitation Workers' Safety
Last week, high-profile Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley resigned after he disclosed to the mayor an order he gave years ago to cremate partial remains of an unknown number of MOVE victims.
Eleven people died after the city dropped a bomb on the group’s West Philadelphia rowhome.
The aftershocks of that deadly decision are still felt to this day and disclosures by top city health officials on the handling of remains have again unearthed deep scars.
“What took place here is truly unbelievable. This is an American city in modern times,” Wecht said.
Only further angering MOVE members, a late revelation Friday that a medical examiner apparently did not follow Farley’s directive, revealing after all, the remains were still in a box at the ME’s office and not actually cremated.MORE NEWS: Police: 2 Teens In Car Shot At Red Light In Philadelphia's Olney Neighborhood
The city has not revealed a potential timeline for when those remains could be transferred to the Africa family.