FERNIE, B.C.- Fernie residents are on a tireless search to reunite families with their loved ones’ missing remains, which were unearthed during decades of construction.
John Gawryluk and Corlyn Haarstad have spent the last 15 years trying to find evidence that nearly 400 once-buried bodies were displaced by development in the mountain town. Through cross-referencing obituaries, databases and maps, they realized that many of the burial sites and grave markers were disturbed by construction, including the building of an elementary school four decades ago.
“At first you think it has to be a mistake,” Haarstad says. “But when you start to put the pieces together and they’re not in the cemetery but you have the documented proof that they’re buried here…where [are they]?”
“Bulldozer operators remember pushing headstones over, and when you dig through there and you see there’s a bone here and a bone there of different people…c’mon,” adds…
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