A grieving South Carolina husband and son are suing the funeral home that left their wife and mother to rot in an unrefrigerated room. The funeral home owners have also been indicted on criminal charges of desecrating a body.
The body of Mary Alice Pitts Moore was supposed to have been cremated in 2015. After she died during a medical procedure at the age of 63, her husband of nearly four decades, Fred Parker Jr., made arrangements with First Family Funeral Home of Spartanburg. South Carolina. However, he and his son’s attempts to recover her ashes were unsuccessful. The funeral home never returned their phone calls and the grieving widower and son always found the funeral home closed whenever they went by. Eventually, they gave up.
Earlier this year, Fred Parker Jr. heard the shocking news when an investigator contacted him. Speaking to the Index-Journal, the widower revealed, “Someone, a private investigator, called and she said I just need to ask you a few questions and the next thing I know, the coroner came and met me in Saluda and they told us. And it’s been messed up ever since. You wouldn’t want to do a dog that bad.”
The coroner explained that Mrs. Moore’s body had decomposed beyond recognition. WSPA, the local CBS affiliate, reports: “According to the coroner, the body was found with scent balms around it to mask the smell and the former employee, who reportedly found the body, said it was not refrigerated.”
In fact, “Spartanburg Coroner Rusty Clevenger said it took his office two weeks to make an ID because “conventional means were not possible.”
The former employee of the funeral home who discovered the body told investigators that when she asked about it she was told, “Don’t worry about it.”
The funeral home claims that they never cremated the body because the family failed to pay their entire bill. Fred Parker Jr. disputes that, saying that he paid $1,100 up front and was never contacted by the funeral home for any further payment.
The two men named in the family’s lawsuit and who are also facing criminal charges are Lawrence Meadows and Roderick Cummings. The Index-Journal reveals that First Family Funeral Home of Spartanburg has a sketchy past:
Meadows lost his funeral director’s license in April 2015 in an unrelated matter after he forged the signature and other information on a life insurance document when the person with control of the policy refused to use it to pay for funeral services, according to state records. Cummings has never had a funeral license in South Carolina, according to documents.
Even if it turns out that the family didn’t pay the bill, the funeral home should not have left the body of a deceased person to rot for three years.