Philadelphia backtracks saying remains of MOVE bombing victims found, not cremated

By: Alyssa Wilson

One day after the Philadelphia Health Commissioner resigned for cremating the remains of victims from the MOVE bombing, the city backtracked and announced the remains were located.  

RELATED: Philadelphia Health Commissioner resigns for cremating MOVE bombing victims without consent  

Mayor Jim Kenney said the remains were found in a refrigerated area of the Medical Examiner’s Office. Members of the MOVE organization were present to review documents related to the bombing. The city plans to return the remains of the victims to their families, Kenney said.  

“I am relieved that these remains were found and not destroyed, however I am also very sorry for the needless pain that this ordeal has caused the Africa family,” Kenney said. “There are many unanswered questions, including why the remains were not cremated as Dr. Farley directed. There are also clearly many areas for improvement in procedures used by the Medical Examiner’s Office.”  

The Health Commissioner’s resignation came on the 36th anniversary of the MOVE bombing, where the Philadelphia Police Department dropped an aerial bomb on Osage Avenue. Eleven members of the MOVE liberation group were killed and the Black neighborhood was destroyed, leaving hundreds homeless.  

Mike Africa Jr., a member of MOVE who witnessed the bombing at the age of six, spoke to Del Walters, host of “DC Today.” He said city officials made many promises to MOVE and the Africa family, but their apologies without action is a form of manipulation. “This system has said a lot of things about what they want to do. They talked about supporting the organization before they dropped a bomb on the organization, he said. “So, they’ve said a lot of things. We don’t trust what they say until we have proof of that promise.”  

RELATED: Remembering the Philadelphia MOVE Bombing 36 years later  

If you or someone you know is struggling from trauma triggered by this story, resources are available here. 

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