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Published: Thursday, 4/20/2006

Human remains unearthed in Maumee to be reburied

A year after they were unearthed, the human remains found at the site of a former Maumee orphanage will be buried at Riverside Cemetery.

A public ceremony is scheduled for 1 p.m. April 29.

The remains of 46 people were found last spring during the start of a construction project at 2500 River Rd., site of the former Lucas County-run Miami Children's Home. They are believed to have been from an unmarked cemetery for the poor in the late 1800s.

Maumee Churches United was asked to offer prayers during the multidenominational service, Maumee Mayor Tim Wagener said. "It will be a very reverential service."

Mr. Wagener said workers at an architectural firm who helped recover the remains have been invited to the ceremony, along with city and county officials, former residents of the children's home, and the public.

Toledo resident Pat Gordon, who lived in the home in the 1940s, said she felt she should go to the ceremony because she had lived where the people had been buried. "I'd just like to be there for them," she said.

She and her four siblings lived there for four years, and never knew about the old cemetery.

"We could have been walking on them," she said.

The city donated a plot at the cemetery, burial services, and a footer for the gravestone.

Design Memorial, on Sophia Street, is donating a headstone, and the Maison-Dardenne-Walker Funeral Home on Conant Street is donating a vault for the grave, Mr. Wagener said.

The first grave was found accidentally on April 14, 2005, by construction crews preparing to build a pair of upscale residential developments, Riverside Commons and Riverbend. Over the following month, workers from Mannik & Smith Group, a Maumee firm, found remains of adults, children, and infants in wooden coffins buried at various depths.

The remains have been stored at the Lucas County coroner's office.

The site had been vacant since Lucas County Children's Services moved its offices to downtown Toledo in 1993.

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