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Funeral home denies allegations of swapping out human remains

Lawyers for a funeral home accused of swapping out human remains are denying the allegations. In the 10-page defendant’s answer, Alpha Funeral Services says claims made by their former funeral home director were made up.

According to court documents, David Eckert claimed he was pressured to swap out remains last summer after cadavers disappeared.

Eckert claims he was pressured to resign, and is asking for financial damages. The owner and operator of Alpha Funeral Service, Anthony Edwards, is named in the suit.

Edwards has close ties there as well as with Edwards Family Mortuaries, Lynhurst Neighborhood Funeral Home and Fountain Square Funeral Services, according to state records.

This is not the first time Fox 59 has investigated disturbing practices by employees who worked for Edwards. Last year, our cameras captured several men moving bodies from a rented van into the Grinsteiner Funeral Home. Instead of using gurneys, employees carried bodies with their hands, even on their shoulders.

Indiana’s Funeral Board President told Fox59 the practices are not illegal but described them as disgusting.

“So does that mean that those deceased are literally stacked in the back of the van?” asked Paul St. Pierre at the time of the investigation.

Court documents show three cadavers from Alpha Funeral Services were supposed to be sent to the Indiana University school of medicine as teaching tools — but when they went missing,.

“Edwards finally ordered Eckert to ‘Get this handled and taken care of.’”

It’s a statement Eckert understood “as an order to gather three separate containers of random remains, and to misrepresent or fake the identities of these remains.”

Alpha is now denying those allegations, calling them “frivolous, unreasonable, groundless…” They admit to Eckert telling Edwards the cadavers or cremated remains were nowhere to be found.

Alpha Funeral Services is now asking for money for all costs incurred by this lawsuit. Both parties refused to comment on the case Thursday night.

VIEW & ADD COMMENTS

10 Comments to “Funeral home denies allegations of swapping out human remains”

    Kris said:
    February 14, 2013 at 11:53 PM

    my family used this funeral home 2 years ago, and it took almost a month to get our uncles ashes because they did not know where the body was. The payment was made upfront to Alpha Funeral Home and they said it would be three days before the ashes would be ready, almost 4 weeks later we finally received the ashes and were told there was a mixup with the hospital and the funeral director. Needless to say when a family is mourning over there loved ones they should not have to be doubting that the ashes they receive are actually the correct ashes. Totally unacceptable in my opinion, and by the way we didn't get the ashes until my mother threatened to go to the media. Wondering how many others have experienced the same issues??

    maria said:
    February 14, 2013 at 11:57 PM

    this is just realy bad ,what a way to run a buisness where people are already upset and then they pull this bullshit ,you should be closed down

    Jeff said:
    February 15, 2013 at 7:05 AM

    This is a very unfortunate situation, but as the old saying goes; "you get what you pay for." I worked for a funeral home in Indianapolis for nearly three years and it is very sad to say that Mr. Edwards' funeral homes are not the only firm where this sort of thing occurs. Many of you might remember a few years ago, Funeral Director Marvin Boatright found himself in trouble for many of the same problems. When it comes to making final arrangements for your loved one, it is very important that you use a reputable firm. Mr. Edwards' funeral homes cater to the less fortunate, providing cheap funeral and burial services. I know from being in the "business" and having to pick up a deceased at his Grinsteiner location, that this firm really needed a visit from state inspectors. The prep room was filthy. I also observed disrespectful handling of the deceased.
    Even though families are hard pressed for funds to provide a funeral and burial for their loved ones, many reputable mortuaries in Indianapolis have many plans available to accommodate your needs.
    People should do their homework and ask around. Many funeral homes will also "work" with you and help you through this difficult time.
    I have had the pleasure of working with many great funeral homes and funeral directors in the Indy area; Shirley Brothers Mortuaries, Daniel O'Reily Funeral Home, Conkle Funeral Home, G.H. Herrman Funeral Homes, Harry W. Moore Funeral Home, Erelewein Mortuary, and many others throughout Indiana.
    It is very sad, but many will take this story and form an opinion that all funeral homes and funeral directors are crooked. That is not so. I really hope that people understand that just as in any other business, there is always that one "bad apple" that ruins it for the other "apples."

    Jo Anne said:
    February 15, 2013 at 10:14 AM

    I too used Alpha Funeral Home for the Cremation of my late Husband's cousin. I used them on the advice of a Social Director from Miller's Nursing Home. She passed away at Community Hospital E. on 11/28/12. I did not receive her ashes until 12/08/12 from the Funeral Director at Alpha. Now after hearing this disturbing news, I am wondering if I got her actual ashes or some from another source I have not done anything with the ashes and guess I just have to hope for the best that I got her remains when I have a Memorial service in the Spring I certainly have no way of proving it one way or the other.

    Kris said:
    February 15, 2013 at 3:00 PM

    This is very disturbung news, my family has used this funeral home multiple times when it belonged to Mr.Preston and it is where my mother wants to be but i will now have to rethink this. This is sickening!

      cjmo2662 said:
      February 15, 2013 at 6:06 PM

      It really is sickening. I hope you can show your mom this info so she can make an informed decision about where she wants her funeral. We used Flanner & Buchanan for my mom's funeral & cremation, and they were wonderful. My family has also used Conkle several times; these are examples of quality funeral homes with good reputations. If you can't talk her out of using this disreputable company, just agree with her, then when the time comes, take her to a reputable home; you won't regret it.

    lisa said:
    February 15, 2013 at 7:45 PM

    I agree that it is important to note that this is not all funeral homes. This is a horrific story and I would be forever troubled if my deceased loved ones were ever anywhere near this despicable establishment. I have experienced great kindness and compassion by the funeral home professionals when we have lost dear family members and for that I will be forever grateful.

    Erma Butts said:
    March 8, 2013 at 2:24 AM

    Oh my god! This is hilarious! Why would they swap it?! I hope this will be given an action.

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