A funeral director in the town of Hopskinville, KY is being accused of taking advantage of two grieving families by holding the bodies of their babies – essentially for ransom, reports WSMV Channel 4. The funeral director from Lamb Funeral Home, the funeral home being accused of this has claimed that the accusations are "not true" after talking with Channel 4 reporters.
WSMV Channel 4 reports that one of the mothers who was asked for money before they release her child's body had to call up 911 asking for help. The incident happened just days after Brittany Jones, the mother in the middle of this all, delivered a stillborn baby. The transcript of the heartbreaking call is painful to read, to say the least.
Dispatcher: "911, where is your emergency?"
Mother: "I need a sheriff dispatched to Lamb Funeral Home."
Dispatcher: "What's going on at Lamb's?"
Mother: "They have my baby and won't release him."
Dispatcher: "Who has your baby and won't release it?"
Mother: "Lamb Funeral Home. He cussed out the funeral director. We talked with him to get a price earlier - what it would 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 release 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."
Brittany and her husband claim that the owner of Lamb Funeral Home held their baby for ransom during their darkest hours and asked them to pay the balance of his services before he would release the body to Todd County Funeral Home, another funeral home that had agreed to handle the service for free. Brittany said that she and her husband didn't have enough money and couldn't afford to bury their baby and for the same reason wanted the service to be handled by Todd County Funeral Home, whose owner Shane Hessey had agreed to do it for free.
However, when they went to pick the body up from Lamb Funeral Home, the owner of which is also an elected county coroner, he refused to hand over the baby because he needed them to pay the balance they owed him for his transportation costs. It wasn't until the next day that the Joneses got their baby back from the funeral home. Brittany decided to call 911 after it was becoming increasingly difficult for them to hold an open casket funeral for their baby as Lamb Funeral Home delayed the release of the body.
Meanwhile, Dorris Lamb, the owner of Lamb Funeral Home, did agree to have a chat with the Channel 4 I-Team in which he claimed that the accusations are not true. He opines that it is common for distraught families who have lost a dear one to "hear things or think things that aren't necessarily true." He added that there was no money involved in the case. He claimed that all he said was that they would need to come the next day to get the baby's body. There was no demand of any ransom from the funeral home at any point. "There was no charge here. For a ransom you have to have a demand. All we did is tell them they would need to come the next day," said Lamb. Lamb adds that the family was upset about the fact that he didn't release the remains sooner than he eventually did.
That said, after Channel 4 I-Team checked the file of Lambs funeral home's previous records with the Kentucky Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors, they found that there have been similar accusations against him in the past as well. There was a case of another lady who had lost two babies within a span of months and Lamb had demanded she pay him the balance for his services before her family could see her son on the day of his visitation. In 2007, a man had written to the board accusing him of keeping more than $4,000 from a pre-arranged funeral account. In 2008, there was also accusations of Lamb Funeral Home violating procedures for burial transit permits for which the Kentucky's Board of Funeral Directors issued a letter saying his conduct was "unprofessional" with the permits.
When asked about these instances, Lamb Funeral home owner repeated his opinion about families in distress and said people hear what they want to hear.
Meanwhile, the Joneses say that they do not want anyone else to go through any more grief than the grief of losing their loved ones.
Do you think the Funeral home was on the wrong here? Or was it just a misunderstanding of the situation by the distraught families?
[Image via WSMV Channel 4]