Suit filed Against Funeral Home Owner Who Left Body in Hearse

November 8, 2009
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image The son of a woman whose decomposed body was found in the back of a hearse in February has filed suit against the man who allegedly placed the woman?s body there.A suit was filed Thursday in Etowah County Circuit Court by attorneys Michael L. Roberts and Emily Hawk Raley, representing Ted Kirby Jr., the only son of Katherine Edna Woods.

Woods? body was found on East Broad Street in the back of a hearse parked in a junkyard.

Harold Watson Sr., owner of Watson and Sons Funeral Home, was charged with abuse of a corpse. That case is pending in circuit court.

Watson had kept Woods? body at the funeral home after she died in Nov. 13, 2007. He moved it a few weeks before her body was discovered in the hearse on Feb. 24.

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Watson told police he moved her after the odor became so bad.

After someone noticed the odor coming from the hearse, they saw the shipping container, common in the funeral industry, and called police.

Watson originally told police Woods? family did not sign papers to authorize her cremation and did not pay. It was later determined that Woods had insurance that covered the cost of her funeral. She had a funeral service and was to have been cremated.

Watson received a $4,250 check, dated Dec. 14, 2007, in complete payment for the services that were supposed to be provided, according to the suit.

Kirby inquired with Watson and was given excuses and eventually was told that his mother?s cremated remains had been picked up and were in the possession of a close friend of his deceased mother, according to the suit.

Her body was kept in an ?uncremated state,? believed to be at the business, until early 2009, the suit states.

As a result of the actions, Kirby incurred ?injuries and damages, including substancial grief, shock, distress and other types of mental distress and anguish and incurred other injuries, expenses and damages, including loss of funds paid for cremation services,? the suites states.

The suit states Kirby is asking for a trial by jury.

Source: Gadsden Times

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