Proof of Bodies not Moved

Note from the author Joseph Lonsdale Sr.

I was brought up as a Catholic and several members of my immediate family are still practicing Catholics. I have respect for the Catholic Church and believe that it does many good deeds, particularly its local schools. It really pains me to point out that the church is lying about something as important as buried bodies, which were entrusted to the church. While the Catholic Church has certainly done worse things than this development, I believe that the church should be honest in all its dealing and not lie about or mistreat buried bodies to make a few million dollars on a real estate development.

“Body Map Real” and the following explanation

To fully understand that there are numerous bodies still on this site it is necessary to read the April 2010 Holy Angels letter and to examine the Body Map document. Body removal details in the letter also includes a map of the bodies, but this map is not in color. It is difficult to determine where the bodies are actually located from this map. We suspect that this is why a black and white map was given to the city. The developers have a clear incentive to hide the existence of the bodies still buried in the field. Without the use of a color map I do not think I could convince an impartial observer that many bodies remain buried in the eastern 115 meters of the development.

In the April 2010 Holy Angels letter the map is referred to as “Thermal image of the site”. This map is not thermal imaging. Thermal imaging only shows the temperature of the top surface of the ground. I spoke to the engineers that created the map of the field. Unfortunately I did not get their cards, and the Catholic Church (Mr. Seelig) has refused to give me information to contact them (see Seelig emails). The objective of survey was to locate old European style graves in the field. This is done by sending high frequency radiation into the ground and measuring what bounces back. An electronic suitcase is carried across the field to do this type of a survey. The suitcase sends high frequency radiation into the ground and measures what bounces back. Something like radar, but with much higher frequency radiation that has penetrating power.

The red colors on the map are indications of metal located at a depth of five to seven feet below the surface of the ground. Metal adornments on coffins or rings or belt buckles on the corpses are the most likely reason for metal to be five to seven feet under the ground. The accuracy of this technique can be seen by comparing the report on where bodies were removed from the Western section (plots 1 through 40) with the red color on the map (body map real). In the western sections there are eight areas of “Possible unmarked burial (relatively high probability)”. These are the areas of solid rectangles on the map. These eight areas yielded 91 bodies. This was determined by going through April 2010 Holy Angels letter and seeing how many bodies were removed from zones 5, 6, 7, 8, 13, 14, 15, 16, 24, & 40.

In the eastern section of the site there are 16 solid rectangles, again these represent “Possible unmarked burial (relatively high probability)”. According to the letter the Church sent to WestGate, no bodies were removed from these 16 sites. Statistically the eight sites yielding 91 bodies and 16 sites yielding zero bodies is not really believable. There is a much better explanation. Unfortunately, the explanation is that the Catholic Church is lying to us about the bodies.

In front of the Planning commission Mr. Seelig testified that they expected to remove 20 to 30 bodies from the field. When the back 35 meters (of the 150 meter field) yielded 251 bodies and the body map indicated that many more bodies still existed in the eastern area of the field, it was clear that the removal operation was going to run way over budget. Apparently, at this time the decision was made not to find additional bodies. They changed the method of finding bodies (potholing, see Body removal details) and did not find any more bodies. They probably thought that they could get away with this deception because they were the only ones to have the body map. This was a despicable decision, but in the grand scheme of things it is not much more despicable than removing the 251 bodies, particularly those that paid the church for their final resting place and put up grave stones in the field.

By examining the letter April 2010 Holy Angels Letter we can determine that from 7/5/07 until 9/28/07 actual work was done on removing the bodies. Two men with a back hoe worked in the field for about 10 weeks. At the time the project had removed almost ten times as many bodies as they thought existed and they had only completed about 25% of the field. What was planned and probably budgeted to be a three or four week project had taken ten weeks and was unlikely to be completed in less than five or six months. Also with the rainy season about to start, the work was going to become much more difficult.

I assume that the decision to stop digging out existing graves was very disappointing to the workers on this project. They had copies of the map (“Body Map Real”) and they could easily tell that there were several more months additional digging would be required to remove the remaining bodies. Perhaps that is why someone left ”Body Map Real” on the ground near the back hoe. I found this map (sometime in late September or early October of 2007) and after studying it I realized that the body removal was going to continue all through the rainy season. I was quite surprised when the body removal operation shut down almost immediately after I found the map. I already knew that the removal operation had a long way to go as the engineers that did the survey told me that many buried bodies existed in both the west end of the field and the eastern end of the field. These engineers did not want to estimate a number of bodies, but when I asked “Over 500?” one of them replied “possibly.” Since no bodies were removed from the east part of the field I expected the body removal operation was far from complete.

Does Potholing work?

Mr. Seelig testified at both the Fremont Historical Architectural Review Board (HARB) meeting and the city council meeting that potential burial spots in the eastern part of the field were inspected by potholing. He described this as removing several feet of top soil to see if the ground had ever been disturbed. Once the operation switched to potholing, no additional bodies were found. Unfortunately, potholing worked exactly as the people managing the operation hoped it would work. No bodies were found and they shut down the removal operation. The operation was declared complete without having to dig up any more bodies.

Where are the paupers buried?

At the HARB meeting on this development (HARB voted down this development 5-0, but they are only advisory.) it was mentioned that for many years Fremont buried its paupers in this field. Let’s consider where the paupers would be buried. It makes no sense to bury them in the cemetery proper as all land in the cemetery is paid for by families. Also there were numerous family plots on the extreme western end of the field. (These are the dotted lines in plots 1, 2, 9, 10, 25, 26, 12, 20, 28, 19, & 27, on “Body Map Real”.) Since the church could sell these view burial lots for good money, it would make no sense to bury paupers on the extreme western end of the field. The entrance to the field has always been from Mission Boulevard on the north side of the cemetery proper. The most reasonable thing to do with paupers would be to bury them just west of the cemetery which is the eastern end of the field. Looking at body map real it is clear that there are numerous bodies in the northeast section of the field. It is also clear that these bodies extend to the north. The field is about 20 meters wider in the eastern most 20 meters. It is interesting that the body map real does not include this area. I think that not inspecting the area to the northeast of the field is just another indication that the church was simply not interested in removing all the bodies.

There are eleven sites of “Possible unmarked burial (relatively high probability)” within 25 meters of the eastern end of the field. No bodies were removed from this area. In addition to the eleven high probability sites there are more than 20 reds dots (indicating buried metal) in this area. There are also more than a dozen low probability sites in the eastern section of the field. In the western section lot 18 was a low probability site. This lot yielded a total of 12 bodies. (3 adults and 9 children, see body removal details.) While it is unlikely that every low probability site contains as many as 12 bodies, the key point is that we do not know.

The Catholic Church owned this land and the cemetery and it was their job to keep accurate records concerning where the bodies were buried. I strongly suspect that the records were kept, but a decision was made not to use them due to the extremely high cost of removing over 500 bodies.

No bodies were found in the eastern area of field because the developers did not want to pay for more removal operations. Also, since there are probably 200 to 500 bodies in the eastern section of the field, the removal of this many bodies would have most likely made the approval of the development less likely.

Do you mind living over or driving over buried bodies?

If you live anywhere in this development you will be driving over buried bodies every time you enter or exit this development.

If you live in the eastern most 115 meters of the development, there is a high probability of one or more buried bodies being on your property. Look at body map real and consider the amount of red on your potential lot. There is not a direct one-to-one correlation between red color and bodies. For example plot 14 has quite a bit of red and yielded only two bodies. Plot 23 has some red and yielded only one body. Plot 18 has only a little more red, but it yielded 12 bodies.

If you live in of the “view homes” in the western 35 meters of the development you are living on land that had numerous buried bodies removed. If you live in one of the view homes and receive a communication from a person with one of the following surnames (Cesario, Jennings, Sosa, Guzman, Gonzales, or Salter) be very careful. These were the family names on the headstones from where the graves were dug up and moved to make room for your home. These may have been descendants of the original Portuguese settlers of Fremont. The Portuguese are a wonderful friendly, generous, people. However they are not known for putting up with injustices to their ancestors without taking revenge. These families most likely paid the church for these burial sites only to have their ancestors graves desecrated. While their complaint should be to the Catholic Church that did the despicable deed of moving the burial site, righteous anger is often misdirected. It could be directed at the occupants of the houses.

In conclusion, the evidence is overwhelming that numerous bodies are still buried in the eastern part of the development.