High school alums demand answers, wondering if sickness was caused by radioactive waste

ST. CHARLES COUNTY, MO - Waste worries have some former Francis Howell High School alumni demanding answers. Many of them came together for a meeting Wednesday night raising concerns that exposure to radioactive waste material may have made them sick.

The watchdog group ‘Chasing Answers’ claims that there are reports confirming major sickness and death of loved ones.

“We think that there should be a study about what happened to us because there is no area like Weldon that I know of that had such high level of mixed contamination,” said group founder and 1992 graduate, Tricia Byrnes.

Byrnes said that the group has acquired government documents pertaining to the area, including a 1940`s announcement by the U.S Army that the ground the school was built on was deemed too toxic to ever be sold or resided on.

The group also claims that there are multiple reports of close friends, some of whom are former Howell graduates, currently suffering from rare cancers, leukemia, and other conditions.

Byrnes said the group wants the government to do testing at the site near Highway 94, Busch Wildlife and the high school and to hand over documents that they say are currently being kept secret.

“We cannot put this level of contamination this close to a school and not have a group just like us monitored,” she said, “this has a shelf life of thousands of years, so we are going to be impacting that school and somebody needs to care about those kids for thousands of years.”

Jacqueline Korte, a 1995 graduate was at the meeting sharing her story about how she is currently suffering with Crohn’s disease, an autoimmune disease that she said is either hereditary or a result of the environment. She said no one in her family has ever had the disease and believes it’s caused by exposure to the toxic waste.

“I end up in the hospital three or four times a year for three to four weeks and I’m a mother of five,” Korte said, “that’s devastating on my children and I can no longer work because I have to go to the bathroom so many times.”

Fox 2 reached out to the Department of Energy for a comment, but we were told the department is working on answers and will get back to us.

We also reached out to the school district, but we were told, no comment.