A Dayton-area law firm has filed a civil lawsuit in Montgomery County Court against a Carlisle crematory and hopes the Warren County prosecutor’s office criminally charges the business.
Richard Schulte, an attorney with Wright & Schulte, said he hopes to “expose the truth” about Premium Mortuary Services, which had its license revoked earlier this month by the Ohio Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors after it found 15 violations, including that the business failed to keep seven deceased human bodies, not yet embalmed, inside a working refrigerator.
Sharon Hart, of Trotwood, said her son, Antwan Hurston, 34, died June 26 at Hospice of Dayton, and Thomas Funeral Home on Salem Avenue in Dayton handled the arrangements. She said she called the funeral home several times inquiring about her son’s cremated remains, but was never given an answer.
“They were not truthful with me,” said Hart, who added she didn’t know her son was being cremated in Carlisle.
His memorial service was held July 5, though his mother didn’t receive an urn with remains until Aug. 10. Schulte said the family may never know if the remains are Hurston’s, a 2002 Dunbar High School graduate.
Hart “hoped to God” after she heard about the allegations against Premium Mortuary Services that her son’s body wasn’t there. When Hart learned her son was there, “it took me over the top,” she said during a Friday afternoon press conference.
Schulte said the allegations against the crematory are “careless, reckless and criminal.” He hopes the prosecutor’s office considers charging the owner of the crematory.
That would be the “right thing,” he said. “They need to be held accountable. Families deserve more respect.”
Though no financial compensation was listed on the civil lawsuit, Schulte said the families need to be compensated for the “harm” they were caused.
Besides Hart, the lawsuit is filed on behalf of the other families impacted by what Schulte called “a horrible situation.”
The lawsuit lists Premium Mortuary, William Liston of Hamilton, James Thomas Corp and James Thomas of the funeral home.
James Thomas was out of town and unavailable for comment, a funeral home employee said.
The owner of the crematory spent part of Friday morning answering questions before the Crematory Review Board in Columbus, according to the board president.
The board will make its recommendation on the business’ license at the next Ohio Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors meeting set for Aug. 23, said Jon Rettig, board president.
The crematory should permanently lose its license, Hart said.
“They don’t deserve it,” she said.