Funeral Industry News

Funeral Director Sued For Showing Family Burning Body

March 8, 2010

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Funeral Director Sued For Showing Family Burning Body

imageHenreyville, IN – Two Louisville women have sued Henryville, Ind., funeral director Richard Pyke, alleging that he showed them a burning human body and human bones during a visit to his business last October to discuss funeral arrangements for a relative.

The claims in the Clark Circuit Court lawsuit give only one side of the case. Pyke declined to comment and referred questions to his lawyer, Richard Mullineaux of New Albany, who did not return a call Friday.

Pyke, meantime, faces unrelated felony insurance fraud charges in Clark and Floyd counties. Following an Indiana State Police investigation, authorities accused him of cashing burial insurance policies of several customers, most of whom are still alive.

Pyke, 42, remains free on bond in those cases.

The Brysons? lawsuit recounts having met with Pyke after Sellersburg resident Dale Bryson, 50, the former husband of Debra Bryson and the father of Audra Bryson, died at the Veteran?s Administration Hospital in Louisville. During the meeting, Audra Bryson determined that she could not afford a burial and asked about cremation, according to the suit.

The women claim that Pyke led them and another family member to a crematory behind the funeral home and opened the door of an oven where ?a human body was being consumed in flames.? The suit also said Pyke showed them a ?grinder? where human remains are crushed and that he picked up human bones and displayed them for the visitors.

Pyke knew or should have known that such conduct would ?shock the consciences of a reasonable person,? according to the suit, filed on the women?s behalf by attorney David Mosley of Jeffersonville. The Courier-Journal?s obituary of Bryson published on Oct. 10 shows that the family had the funeral at Pyke Funeral Services in Henryville.

Audra Bryson couldn?t afford at that point to switch to another funeral home, Mosley said in an e-mail.

Pyke also owns Kentuckiana Cremation Centre, and has an interest in the Pyke-Calloway Funeral Services in New Albany.