(Reuters) – The daughters of an Alabama woman who died in 2010 sued the funeral home on Tuesday that handled her burial, saying it lost the body and couldn’t find it even after digging up several graves.
The three daughters of Jimmie Lee Scott said in their lawsuit filed in the Circuit Court of Montgomery County that after their mother died, her body was handed over to Ross-Clayton Funeral Home Inc.
The firm oversaw an April 2010 funeral service for Scott and her casket was taken to the Oakwood Cemetery Annex in Montgomery for burial, the lawsuit states.
The daughters and others in attendance left after a graveside service, where the casket was positioned over the plot where Scott was to be interred, court papers indicate.
Later, daughter Dakota Scott went to take flowers to her mother’s grave, but found the tombstone was far away from where she remembered the service being held, the lawsuit said. Nevertheless, the funeral home is said to have assured her the site was correct.
A representative of the funeral home later contacted Scott and told her the funeral home would have to move her mother’s casket and body, because another family owned the plot, the lawsuit states.
But when workers dug up the grave, no casket or body was found in the plot where Jimmie Lee Scott’s headstone had been placed, the court papers said.
The same day, other graves were dug up in a vain search for Jimmie Lee Scott’s body, which has still not been found, the lawsuit said.
“The plaintiffs have been forced to relive some of the saddest days of their lives — the death and burial of their mother — whom they deeply love and for whom they desire a peaceful and certain resting place,” attorneys for the three women wrote in the lawsuit.
David Ross, the head of the funeral home, declined to comment on the suit when reached by phone on Tuesday night.
The lawsuit does not say how old Jimmie Lee Scott was when she died.
Also named as a defendant in the suit were the representative from the funeral home who is said to have handled the arrangements, and Forest Hills Memorial Park LLC, a cemetery company the plaintiffs say was contacted by the funeral home to deal with the burial.
Forest Hills had “a long history of problems, some of which are similar to the complaint in this case,” the lawsuit said. A representative for Forest Hills could not be reached for comment.
Jimmie Lee Scott’s daughters were seeking at least $2 million in compensatory damages and $1 million in punitive damages.