Press Release: Parents of Stillborn Son Unable to Say Goodbye After Funeral Home Obtains and Fails to Preserve Body
NEW YORK/EWORLDWIRE/July 2, 2015 — The team of wrongful death attorneys at The Law Offices of Michael S Lamonsoff is representing the family traumatized by New Jersey-based Childs Funeral Home which handled the body of their infant son.
Without parental authority to pick up the body from Monmouth Medical Center, Childs Funeral Home nevertheless obtained the body of stillborn infant Kevin Lawrence Jr. and then allowed the baby’s body to become so severely decomposed that his parents were unable to view it before burial.
What Are The Specifics In This Case?
Laverne Brown and Kevin Lawrence were having their first child together. Their family of five includes three children from previous partners. They excitedly awaited this new baby to officially “tie” the family together. When the Kevin Lawrence Jr. was delivered stillborn, the family was devastated. The parents insisted upon seeing the baby and holding him in the delivery room. They immediately began looking for the best funeral home they could find for their precious son, intending to have an open casket service where the family could view the baby one last time before his burial.
Several funeral homes were interviewed before the parents made their final choice. Included in interviews was Childs Funeral Home, a family owned New Jersey business which they decided against. They instead chose Jackson Funeral Home to be the handler of their child’s final rites.
In an apparent attempt to obtain funeral fees from the grieving parents, Childs Funeral Home moved forward without any authorization whatsoever and retrieved the baby’s body. It is unclear why the body was released to Childs Funeral Home without consent from the family.
When the family’s chosen service, Jackson Funeral Home, went to retrieve the body on June 16, Jackson representatives were informed that he had already been retrieved by Childs two days prior.
In the two days that Childs Funeral Home had custody of Kevin Lawrence Jr., the funeral home made no effort to refrigerate or preserve his remains as the standards of the law demand.
When Jackson Funeral Home regained custody of the body, Brown and Lawrence were advised that the body should be immediately embalmed to the best possible degree. When they asked if they could see the child one last time before the process began, they were strongly advised against it due to the emotional trauma that would result from seeing their son’s severely decomposed condition.
The couple remains devastated and indignant at the behavior of Childs, its funeral home negligence, and violation of the ancient right of sepulcher. They are devastated by their inability to have seen their son’s body for the last time. Ultimately, a sealed casket service was the only way to say goodbye.
“We carried the casket together,” Kevin Lawrence Sr. said. “I wanted so badly to open it and look inside, just to say goodbye. I was so tempted, but I was also terrified of what I’d see.”
What Other Incidences Have Accompanied This Issue?
In another tragic turn of events, the ink-on-paper footprint impression taken by the hospital at the time of Kevin Jr.’s birth vanished during these events. When the family requested to have a replica made before the burial, they were informed by Jackson Funeral Home that the foot was too badly decomposed for that to be possible. For this couple, two single parents who had just gave birth to their first child together, the loss this most basic birth memento of their baby was devastating.
“He was stillborn, but we loved him so much already,” the father said. Laverne wanted to see him one last time “to make sure he received a proper burial which we were robbed of by Childs Funeral Home.”
The Law Offices of Michael S. Lamonsoff has over 20 years of experience in funeral home negligence and sepulcher cases. New Jersey law is clear about the rights of the family to the proper care, custody, and preservation of deceased loved ones. All possible actions that may be taken against those responsible for this horrific injustice are being investigated.