Funeral home accused of substituting bodies

Steve Gonzalez Mar. 2, 2005, 1:02pm

When Travis Glenn's four daughters bid him a final farewell at Officer Funeral Home in East St. Louis more than 10 years ago, the girls didn't know the man they viewed in the casket was not their dad.

In a suit filed against the funeral home, Tamara and Lashonda Glenn and Natalie and Tiffany Chism claim a substitute decedent was put in their father's casket because he had been cremated.

"Officer Funeral Home negligently, recklessly and outrageously substituted another body in the casket misrepresenting that the body in the casket was Travis Glenn," according to the suit filed Feb. 23 in St. Clair County's Civil Law Division.

"Then (the funeral home) displayed the body prior to the funeral service and after the service the body was taken to Jefferson Barracks and interred in a grave there and a marker with the name of Travis Smith was placed above the grave."

Glenn died May 6, 1994, at St. Louis University Hospital and was sent to Officer Funeral Home where arrangements for the funeral were made by relatives without consulting the plaintiffs, according to the suit. His funeral was May 11, 1994.

At the time of Glenn’s death his daughters were 19, 17, 13, and 11.

The funeral was held at St. Louis AME Church and burial was planned for Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in Missouri.

The daughters claim they did not know that their father's body had been cremated nor did they know the body in the coffin was not their father's.

According to the complaint, the daughters decided to go to the grave to place a memorial on Memorial Day, May 31, 2004, but were notified by their aunt in California, Cora Mae, that the body in the grave was not their father's.

“The emotional distress inflicted upon the plaintiffs as a result of the actions of the defendant is so severe that no reasonable person could be expected to endure it," the complaint states.

"Officer Funeral Home intended to inflict distress."

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