Kentucky Family Says Cemetery Dropped Deceased

February 13, 2012

A Frankfort, Ky., family is suing a cemetery they say dropped a casket during the burial, causing a body to fall out.

The family of 85-year-old Katherine Galbraith wants damages from Sunset Memorial Gardens for their handling of the remains during the transportation and burial on March 24.

Family attorney Chris Haden told The State Journal that cemetery workers dropped the casket as they were lowering into the ground, causing the body to fall out. Haden says personal items, including a rose and pearl necklace, fell into the grave after the lid fell off the casket and Galbraith’s body fell head first onto the ground.

“We believe they tried to lower the casket into the grave with a backhoe instead of a lowering mechanism, and that is when the casket fell off and broke open,” Haden said.

Galbraith’s daughter, Ruth Ritter of Frankfort, said the cemetery called after the accident and said the casket had been scratched, but didn’t disclose that the body had fallen out.

The cemetery later disinterred Galbraith’s remains, Haden said, and the family saw the full extent of the damage to the body and casket.

Haden says family members found mud and abrasions on the body. Ritter said the condition of the remains and casket horrified her.

“My mother was the most meticulous person,” Ritter said. “Even at the hospital (during her last few months of life) she wore lipstick and earrings every day.”

The cemetery reburied Galbraith two days later.

The funeral home denies any wrongdoing.

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