TSA Precheck Leads To Lawsuit: Man Finds Mom’s Cremated Remains ‘Dumped’ In Suitcase

A TSA precheck turned into a nightmare for Shannon Thomas, who was transporting an urn containing his mother’s ashes. When he discovered that agents had allegedly mishandled her remains in his suitcase, he was understandably furious.

Thomas was traveling from Cleveland to Puerto Rico on October 5, 2012, to spread his mother’s cremated remains into the Caribbean Sea, when Cleveland-based agents “carelessly” went through his belongings.

Shannon Thomas claimed that he had his mother’s ashes in a heavy and sturdy urn, which he had repeatedly “tested” to ensure it would survive the trip. The lid was securely placed and sealed to ensure no spillage, before he wrapped it in clothing.

Unfortunately, when Thomas handed his baggage to the Cleveland Hopkins International Airport TSA precheck agents, they proceeded to unpack his suitcase without warrant. They took the urn out, unwrapping the clothes and opening the urn to look inside. Satisfied, they “negligently, carelessly, and recklessly replaced the lid,” and repacked the suitcase.

Shannon Thomas alleged that the agents weren’t careful enough with his most precious cargo, according to The Associated Press. He wasn’t aware of their alleged carelessness until he’d reached his destination.

Thomas had opened the suitcase and found his mother’s cremated remains all over his clothes and the inside of the suitcase, along with the TSA precheck inspection notice. The very reason for his trip to Puerto Rico, his mother’s dying wish, had all been for nothing. He believes that if the TSA agents had simply given his cargo the care he had expected, he could have fulfilled his mother’s final request.

Thomas also claims that the actions leading to his horrid discovery drew no apologies or condolences from the United States or the TSA agency involved in the two years since the incident. That simply made it worse for the grieving man, and he is now taking it to court for emotional distress, property damage, and “outrageous disturbance of human remains.”

While the TSA precheck measures are meant to halt terrorist measures and prevent another tragedy like the attacks on September 11, 2001, this time agents allegedly committed the unspeakable. It is unknown whether their actions could have been prevented, or it had simply been the urn’s lid shifting too much in the luggage.

The TSA agents may have also been simply doing their job, ensuring that luggage destined outside the continental U.S. was safe and did not contain a bomb or lethal device.

Do you think the TSA agents mishandled Shannon Thomas’ suitcase, or could the seal on the urn’s lid have simply not been secure enough in its design?

[image via Pinstripe and Pearls]