The family of a Florida woman who was fatally struck by a car has filed a lawsuit against a funeral home, alleging an employee had taken a photo of her dead body that was posted online.
In the lawsuit, the family of Jakiel Jones said a staffer for Stevens Brothers Funeral Home took photos of the 27-year-old woman’s body and gave them to “non-family members.” Jones’ family alleged that one of the images ended up on Facebook on February 2, according to the Palm Beach Post.
The news outlet reported that Jones was killed January 18 when a car traveling northbound on Interstate 95 near Lantana struck her. Her body was reportedly so disfigured that the family had planned to have a closed-casket funeral.
The late woman’s mother, Deanna Washington, claimed she received a call on the day of her daughter’s burial saying that a picture of her daughter’s dead body was online.
“When I looked at the photo I saw that it was taken in the prep room at the funeral home. My baby partially clothed on a mortuary slab, with her hair pulled back. Her body had not been prepped for us or anyone else to view,” she recalled to WFOR.
The photo, which was ultimately deleted, was said to have shown Jones’ body on a slab in the funeral home’s prep room. Her hair was reportedly pulled back and she was wearing a blue shirt, which was her favorite color.
While the family alleged that Stevens Brothers employees are the only people to have access to Jones’ body, the funeral home’s president, Tony Mack II, told the Post that he doesn’t believe any of his staff is responsible. Mack said the family hasn’t provided any “viable proof” that they’re to blame and that his company bars any photos from being taken unless the family requests them.
The news outlet noted that the funeral home made previously headlines in April, following allegations that human ashes were dumped a West Palm Beach YWCA parking lot. Police reportedly located a total of three piles of remains between March 25 and April 3—which were marked with tags from the home’s Belle Glade location.
The family of a 73-year-old man whose remains were reportedly listed one of those tags claimed the funeral home provided them with an urn and claimed it contained their loved one’s ashes. While the man died in 2013, his family said they’re not sure whose ashes they have given the recent turn of events.
The latest lawsuit lists an “unknown” person and Stevens Brothers Funeral Home as defendants. The state’s Division of Funeral Cemetery and Consumer Services told the Post that the funeral home’s Belle Glade license remains under investigation.
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[Featured image: WFOR video screengrab]