Bones, tombstone uncovered in yard

April 14, 2008 9:46:58 PM PDT
Who was Joseph Simone, and why were human remains and his tombstone in the Velasquez family's yard? Samuel Velasquez of the 3300 block of Kensington was trying to cultivate the ground behind his row home to plant a garden, but he would soon make the startling discovery.

"When I (saw) the first bones down there and another piece of human hair, that's when I realized it was time for me to stop and call the authorities for them to follow through," he said.

Velasquez uncovered a shallow grave along with a tombstone belonging to a Joseph Simone, who was born in August 1912 and died in May1971.

The only problem is Simone's daughter says her father is buried in Holy Cross Cemetery in Yeadon, Delaware County along with her mother, Jean.

The tombstone found in a backyard in Kensington appears to have been the first one that her mother had made for Joseph Simone when he was buried at Holy Cross in South Philadelphia. She had a bigger one made when that cemetery was moved to Yeadon.

If that is the case, the Velasquez family wonders whose remains are buried in their backyard?

"We need to identify who this is. It could be anybody's family," said Angela Velasquez.

Police at first thought the grave may have been made by Simone's loved ones, which is allowed in Pennsylvania if the grave is properly marked.

Now authorities are trying to determine just who was buried in the Velasquez yard.