PHILADELPHIA — It’s been almost a year since the City of Philadelphia announced it discovered the remains of some MOVE bombing victims and one man says he has still not received the remains of his two sisters.
Lionell Dotson told Eyewitness News his sisters’ remains are in Philadelphia’s Medical Examiner’s Office, but after trying for months, he hasn’t been allowed to obtain them.READ MORE: Enhanced Risk For Severe Weather Across Philadelphia Region Monday Afternoon
“They cannot still rest in peace because their on a shelf in someone’s box,” Dotson said.
Dotson’s sisters, Katricia and Zanetta, were just 12 and 14 years old when they were killed in the MOVE bombing.
He shared a photo with Eyewitness News that was taken in 1973, about 10 years before the bombing.
“I never got to grow up with my sisters. The City of Philadelphia took them from me and I will never forgive them for that,” Dotson said.
Last spring, Eyewitness News reported the University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Museum still held a portion of one sister’s remains that had been used in anthropology classes, according to Dotson’s attorney.READ MORE: All Eyes On Pennsylvania Primary As Tuesday's Election Day Approaches
Then, later that same year, the medical examiner’s office had portions of both sisters’ remains for more than three decades.
“This family has not gotten respect in life or death,” attorney Bakari Sellers said.
The City of Philadelphia told Eyewitness News it’s investigating how the remains were handled stating, “The City is working on a way to appropriately return all remains once that report is complete, and the City has identified the next of kin for the MOVE remains it has in its possession. Mr. Dotson and his attorney have previously been made aware of the City’s plan.”
But Dotson says the city has held onto the remains for far too long.
“They’re in the medical examiner’s office, in a box, on a shelf, but they won’t release them to me,” Dotson said. “The city won’t release them to me. The city’s keeping them for their own personal amusement if you will. I want them released.”
The city initially said in July its report would be finished in six months, but a source close to the investigation says it’s taken much longer than anticipated to go through decades of documents. It also conducted dozens of interviews.MORE NEWS: Police: 14-Year-Old Boy Shot In Leg In Philadelphia's Haddington Neighborhood
Dr. Christopher Woods, the Williams Director at the Penn Museum, tells CBS3 in part, “Two independent investigations have been conducted, which considered the identity of the human remains inside the Museum. We are fully cooperating with a third investigation commissioned by the City of Philadelphia, which is expected to conclude soon.”