Mother accuses funeral director of holding baby’s remains for ransom

Charlene Sakoda
Odd News

Brittany Jones and her husband say that days after delivering a stillborn baby, they were forced to call 911 to get their child’s remains. As reported by WSMV Channel 4, Ms. Jones made an emotional call to an emergency dispatcher and had this exchange:

Dispatcher: "Who has your baby and won't release it?"

Mother: "Lamb Funeral Home. He cussed out the funeral director. And we went, we talked with him to get a price earlier, on what it was gonna cost to bury our baby, a little baby, and he won't release him to Todd County where we want him buried."

Dispatcher: "Why are they refusing to give the child?"

Mother: "He said that I owe him money, but he hasn't done any, provided any service. He hasn't planned the funeral. He wouldn't do anything until we come up with the money."

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The parents could not afford to bury their baby, but were offered a free burial by Shane Hessey, owner of Todd County Funeral Home. When trying to get the body released from Lamb Funeral Home, Hessey said, "We went to pick the body up, and he refused to give us the body because there was a balance owed on his transportation costs…We waited until the next day before we got, before we got the remains." The Jones’ said that time was running out to embalm the body for an open casket funeral, so they decided to call 911 for help.

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Dorris Lamb, owner of Lamb Funeral Home as well as an elected county coroner, refutes the Jones’ claims and told WSMV, "With babies and adults, families are distraught. Sometimes they hear things or they think things that aren't necessarily so. This talking about monies, there was no monies involved at all on our behalf." Lamb added that there was never any charge or demand for money saying, “All we did was tell them that they would need to come the next day."

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When WSMV looked into Lamb’s file with the Kentucky Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors, they found a history of complaints. In 2007, the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office requested Lamb pay a family more than $4000 they say he kept from a prearranged funeral account. In another recorded incident, Lamb violated burial transit permit procedures, which is conduct the Kentucky’s Board of Funeral Directors called, “unprofessional.” In still another incident, a mother having suffered the loss of two babies within months said Lamb demanded payment on a balance for his services before her family could see her son. The woman, who wanted to conceal her identity said, "I'm grateful that I did have money and I’m grateful that I had a family to help me, because if I didn't, I would not have gotten to see my son." Lamb denies the accusation saying, "That's not our policy and never has been. And, the same way really… People hear what they want to hear. We are here to direct and help that family.” The station notes that Lamb had the option to appeal those earlier complaints, but did not.

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Video and more info: WSMV