Family says mortician embalmed loved-one without permission - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Family says mortician embalmed loved-one without permission

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After more than three years in a Fairfield nursing home, 82-year-old Josiephine Crowley, died Tuesday.

Her daughter, Patricia Davis, says her last wish was for services to be at Scott McPherson Funeral Home.

"She signed the papers and instructed the nursing home that once her mother passed to release her remains to Scott McPherson Funeral Home," Jonathan McPherson said.

But Davis says McPherson wanted more money than she had for the services, so she turned to Faith Memorial Chapel and asked the body to be moved.

But McPherson said no.

"You're basically saying give me my money or you don't get the body," Davis said. "That's hostage."

McPherson wanted $1,295 for picking up and embalming the body. Davis says she paid $300, but couldn't afford the rest.

"The only thing we ask is to be compensated for the service we have rendered," McPherson said.

But Davis says McPherson didn't have permission to embalm Crowley's body and according to the Federal Trade Commission and the Funeral Service Board in Alabama, embalming without permission is illegal.

According to FTC rules and regulations, "You must specifically ask the family for permission to embalm and must receive their permission before you embalm the body."

McPherson says he thought permission was implied after Crowley's family signed permission for her body to be taken by Scott McPherson Funeral Home after her death. Davis says embalming was not part of the agreement.

McPherson turned over Crowley's body to Faith Memorial Chapel, Wednesday, but family say it's too little too late because McPherson violated the law.

"He nearly cursed her out over $900," Davis' fiance, Cornelius Jackson, said. "Now when he gets on camera, his persona changed. He's nice and [willing to] release the body because now he knows he's in trouble with the law."

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