East County woman fighting Jamul casino project, claims land was once a burial site

JAMUL, Calif. - A San Diego Superior Court judge continued a hearing Tuesday after a woman claims construction crews are tearing up tribal land which contains artifacts from her dead mother to make way for a new casino.

"Their motto is, well, they're gone so that's it," said Karen Toggery.

Toggery's mother is buried at Jamul Indian Village, which is on the opposite side of where the casino is being built.

But she says some of the objects her mother loved were burned in the soil, which was later dug up and given to Caltrans for a highway project.

"We weren't meant to do this," said Toggery. "We take care of our own. We love them. We praise our ancestors and our traditions."

But Toggery's brother, Raymond Hunter, is chairman of the tribe and defended the casino project.

"For these people to claim we have excavated soil of the cemetery and removed our family members from their final resting place is an outrageous lie," said Hunter.

In court Tuesday, Caltrans officials say they have found no evidence of human remains and the construction work is already deep enough to where there would not be anyone buried.

"I am not convinced that there were any human remains taken based on the evidence," said San Diego Superior Court Judge Ronald Prager.

Prager said he needed more time to review the case and continued the hearing until next month.

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