PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A sense of anticipation has come to an end more than three decades after one of the darkest moments in Philadelphia history. The remains of two children killed when city bomb complex MOVE in 1985 was finally cremated at East Mount Airy Cemetery.
This comes after a long and painful story for the surviving family.
Lionell Dotson was emotional moments before receiving his sisters’ remains, and promised to bury them thoughtfully.
“It was a tragic moment but also a bittersweet moment,” Dotson said.
Dotson said 37 years after his two sisters were killed in the MOVE bombing, he has finally obtained their remains from the Philadelphia Medical Examiner’s Office.
“It will be a fun occasion. I’m a bit hysterical now because it’s all surreal,” said Dotson.
Katricia and Zanetta Dotson were 12 and 14 years old when they were killed in the MOVE bombing in 1985. Dotson showed off a t-shirt with his two sisters. The shirt also reads: “The city of Philadelphia took them away from me.”
Although Philly’s medical examiner was under different leadership at the time of the bombing, the city’s medical examiner apologized to Dotson Wednesday.
“She came out on her own and said I was sorry for your loss and sent me her sincerest apologies. And I appreciate that and I accept it,” Dotson said.
An apology was issued last year that the remains of the two girls had been kept at the Penn Museum and Medical Examiner’s Office for many years.
One Report released in June recommends that the Office of Medical Examiner amend the death certificates of all 11 MOVE victims to reflect that their manner of death was murder, not an accident.
The Office of Medical Examiner said it would make the change.
“Finally, they are on the shelves. They should never have been stored on a damp, dark shelf in the first place in 37 years. I can finally get them out of the city that killed them,” Dotson said.
After finding his sisters’ remains, Dotson cremated them at Ivy Hill Cemetery in the East Mount Airy section of the city. After the cremation, he said, he plans to fly home to North Carolina to bury his sisters properly.