WEST SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A West Sacramento sacred burial site is at the center of a new lawsuit filed by the Yolo County District Attorney.
Jeff Reisig is accusing a housing developer of hiding the discovery of Native American remains, and building on top of it.
The Newport Estates development sits on a location where the Patwin Tribe once lived.
“The remains that were found there are very significant to us because they’re our people,” Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation Tribal Council secretary James Kinter said. “They’re our aunties, uncles, they are our family, that were buried there and prayed over.”
CBS13 was at the construction site when bones were found in 2015.
The bones were discovered by a passerby.
Now Reisig says he has evidence the construction crew knew about the burial site earlier and didn’t follow state law handling the sensitive site properly.
“We certainly have smoking gun evidence,” Reisig said.
The lawsuit, aimed at several companies developing the site including Seecon Financial and Construction, alleges a subcontractor discovered Native American remains and did not contact an archaeologist, a tribal member, or the county coroner.
The lawsuit alleges a text message shows the “Defendants instructed their subcontractor not to contact police and to hide that s—.”
“That’s smoking gun evidence for sure, it makes this case incredibly strong, but the conduct was going on for quite a while,” Reisig said.
Attorney Jim Colopy for Seecon Financial and Construction told CBS13 his clients “not only have complied with the law they have gone above and beyond.”
“We will vigorously defend this lawsuit and we are confident we will prevail,” Colopy said.
A legal fight over a sacred burial site.
“It’s very disheartening to see a company go and desecrate human remains at native sites,” Kinter said.
A lawsuit filed by the D.A. Alleging a desecration of a sacred place meant to lay Native Americans to rest in peace.
The D.A. is asking a judge to fine the developers no less than $500,000. The first court date is set for November.