Family buries remains of woman found at turnpike construction site

October 15, 2003, 6:59 AM EDT


JERSEY CITY, N.J. -- A woman whose remains were among the thousands of bodies found at the site of a planned New Jersey Turnpike interchange has been reburied in a family plot.

The funeral held Tuesday for Alfoncina Pansini ended an extensive search undertaken by her granddaughter, Diane Bruli. She is the first relative to find and claim the remains of a loved one who was buried at the site.

"I am still in shock that any of this is happening," Bruli told The Record of Bergen County for Wednesday's editions. She had been looking for Pansini for many years and knew she died in 1928 at a mental hospital, but she searched in vain until Pansini's remains were found last month.

The remains of about 3,5000 people were uncovered about two years ago when work began on a new $250 million interchange in Secaucus between Exits 16E and 18E. The authority then hired an archaeological consultant to conduct a court-ordered exhumation at the potter's field, which served a Hudson County mental institution and hospital complex.

The remains of those who are not claimed will be reburied later this year at a Bergen County cemetery.

Pansini's funeral was held at St. Ann's Church in Hoboken, followed by her burial in Holy Name Cemetery in Jersey City. She was reinterred in the plot where Bruli's father and mother are buried.

Joe Orlando, a turnpike authority spokesman, said the funeral provide closure for Pansini's family.

"Rarely are funerals happy occasions, but with everything the family's gone through, I guess we can look at this with a lot of admiration and happiness that this family was able to put a missing piece back into their lives," he said.


Copyright 2003, The Associated Press

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