Major Investigation Underway After Disturbing Revelation Over Handling Of Human Remains From MOVE Bombing

Joe Holden reports

Video Transcript

--investigation is now underway after a disturbing revelation. There is outrage over the handling of human remains from the MOVE bombing. Joe Holden is in Center City to explain. Joe.

JOE HOLDEN: Jessica, in the time this story has been developing over the last few days, pressure is building. This evening, the University of Pennsylvania telling us in a statement that human remains need to be treated with the dignity and the respect that they deserve.

Developing right now, the University of Pennsylvania has retained external legal counsel to figure out why the Ivy League school's museum held onto the remains of two teenagers who died in the 1985 MOVE catastrophe four decades. In a series of statements, the university is apologizing to the Africa family, the remaining members of a pro-revolutionary organization that was entangled in a heated standoff with police and the city in the '70s and '80s.

11 members of MOVE died after the city bombed their compound located on Osage Avenue in densely populated West Philadelphia. The Africa family faced TV cameras and questions this morning.

JANINE AFRICA: This is a really hard thing for me to talk about. Because I feel like I am reliving 1985, when they told me that my son was dead.

JOE HOLDEN: Among the dead, those two teens whose remains were sent to a Penn professor years ago for post-mortem identification and analysis. The Africa family claims they never knew about that. And over the years, knowledge of who had custody of the remains became unclear. It's alleged the professor who was initially consulted by the city took them to Princeton when he retired from Penn. Both schools tonight say they don't have them.

JANINE AFRICA: They have desecrated what they say are their remains, defiled them, and had them hidden away on exhibit as a learning tool for their students. That is the most disrespectful, hateful thing to do to anybody, but especially children.

JOE HOLDEN: And, tonight, the Africa family tells reporters they're not even aware of what they would do. No decision yet on how they would lay the 14-year-old and 12-year-old children finally to rest after all of these years. We're live in Center City, this is Joe Holden CBS 3 Eyewitness News.

- All right, Joe, thank you.