MOVE members demanding answers on missing children's remains

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Family members are demanding answers after the remains of children killed in the 1985 MOVE bombing in Philadelphia reportedly can't be located.

"Penn Museum and Princeton University are holding what they claim are the remains of some of our children for 36 years," said Janine Africa.

MOVE, the back-to-nature anti-government group, was dubbed a radical organization by police in the late seventies after several confrontations, including one that left a police officer dead.

In 1985, police bombed the group's home, which sparked an inferno that killed 11 people including five children. Two city blocks were burned and 61 homes were destroyed.

Many MOVE members were jailed.

"We never knew anything about the remains of our family, nothing; we were in jail when this happened," said Janet Africa.

Penn Museum released a statement saying: "The Penn Museum and the University of Pennsylvania apologize to the Africa family and to our community for allowing human remains recovered from the MOVE house to be used for research and teaching, and for retaining the remains for far too long."

"We can confirm no remains of the victims of the bombing of the MOVE house are being housed or were ever stored at the University," said a spokesperson with Princeton late Monday night.

Conswella Africa, whose daughter was among those killed, grew overwhelmed with emotion during the press conference.

"We are in pain. We got feelings, we are sensitive," she said.

There is still a strong resentment against the City of Philadelphia. Wilson Goode, who was mayor at the time of the bombing, has since apologized. Several members of the Philadelphia City Council support honoring the anniversary of the bombing, May 13th, with a day of reflection.

MOVE members said they do not necessarily want the remains back because they do not trust the institutions. However, they requested the release of journalist-turned death row inmate, Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was convicted of killing a Philadelphia police officer in a separate incident. Abu Jamal covered the organization prior to his incarceration.
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