PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A welcome sense of completion more than three decades after one of the darkest moments in Philadelphia’s history. Remains of two children killed during city bombed connection MOVE in 1985 they were finally cremated at East Mount Airy Cemetery.
It comes after a long and painful saga for the surviving family.
Lionel Dotson was thrilled moments before receiving the remains of his two sisters and promises to bury them properly.
“It’s a tragic moment, but also a bittersweet moment,” Dotson said.
Dotson says that 37 years after his two sisters were killed in the MOVE bombing, he finally received some of their remains from the Philadelphia medical examiner’s office.
“It’s going to be a joyful event. I’m a little hysterical right now because it’s all surreal,” Dotson said.
Katricia and Zanetta Dotson were only 12 and 14 years old when they died in a MOVE bombing in 1985. Dotson showed off his T-shirt with pictures of his two sisters. The shirt also reads, “City of Philadelphia took them from me.”
Although the Philadelphia medical examiner was under different management at the time of the explosion, the city medical examiner apologized to Dotson on Wednesday.
“She came out on her own initiative and said she was sorry for your loss, and offered me a sincere and heartfelt apology. And I appreciate it and I accept it,” Dotson said.
The apology was issued after it emerged last year that the remains of the two girls had been stored for years at the Penn Medical Examiner’s Office and Museum.
BUT report released in June recommends that the Medical Examiner’s Office amend the death certificates of all 11 MOVE victims to reflect that their manner of death was homicide rather than accident.
The Medical Examiner’s Office says they’ll make changes.
“They are finally coming off the shelves. First, they should never have been stored on a dark, damp shelf for 37 years. Finally, I will take them away from the city that helped kill them,” Dotson said.
After taking his sisters’ remains, Dotson had them cremated at Ivy Hill Cemetery in the city’s East Mount Airy area. He says that after the cremation, he plans to fly home to North Carolina to bury his sisters with dignity.