A Tennessee mother’s grief from losing her premature baby grew stronger when the funeral home entrusted with handling the baby’s remains told her they had lost his body.
James Sanders is the attorney for the woman who has asked that she not be named in news reports.
Sanders told WMC that logs show the Memphis-area, M.J. Edwards Funeral Home collected the body from a nearby hospital but now no one knows where the boy’s remains are.
“Distraught would be an understatement,” Sanders said of his client. “She has good days and not so good days and she's had mostly not so good days.”
The grieving mother spoke to WREG. She said the boy was born three months premature on August 23. He died just a few hours after delivery.
“I got to hold him, kiss him, look at him. He had eyes, arms and legs. He wasn’t a fetus; he was a baby. He just didn’t make it because he was small,” she said.
Hospital records indicate that M.J. Edwards Funeral Home picked up the boy’s remains on August 24. It was not until the day before the Sept. 5 funeral that his mother got a call from the funeral home asking her to visit their offices right away.
“When I got there, she said they don’t know where his remains are the day before the burial,” the woman said.
The funeral home reportedly told her they could conduct a memorial service without the body or she could wait and see if the body turned up.
“I feel like they treated him any kind of way because he was small. You wouldn’t have lost a 50- or 18-year-old,” the boy’s mother said.
Sanders said he is going to sue the funeral home for negligence on the woman’s behalf.
“Part of the problem is she doesn’t know what happened,” he said. “There has been no explanation of any kind other than merely saying we lost the body.”
The funeral home declined to answer any questions but issued a brief statement through a company spokesperson.
“Out of respect for the privacy of all the families that we serve, it would be inappropriate for me to share specific details of any situation,” the spokesperson said. “We’re going to maintain a bond of confidentiality with this family.”
The mother said she didn’t expect winning the lawsuit would make her feel any better.
“Next year on August 23, to me, that’s going to be his first birthday,” she said. “I’m not going to be able to go to the gravesite to visit because I don’t know where he is.”