Three years after her death, the body of Mary Alice Pitts Moore was found in the funeral home in a state of extreme decomposition.
When Mary Alice Pitts Moore died during a medical procedure, aged 63, in March 2015, her family rallied together their funds to allow her a proper cremation and funeral.
While the service to pay their respects to Moore left the family feeling that they’d properly paid tribute to a beloved mother and wife, the three years since that April 2015 service has been a constant battle to retrieve her cremated remains. The family is now eventually suing after it was discovered that Moore’s body had never been cremated in the first place.
In February 2018, a former employee of First Family Funeral Home discovered her body under a sheet in a non-refrigerated room in the Spartanburg, South Carolina, funeral home. Moore was in such a state of decomposition that it took two weeks to identify her.
South Carolina's system protects funeral directors at the expense of citizens https://t.co/El28cKrt5e— NCStories (@NCStories) July 2, 2018
A country coroner contacted the family to inform them that Moore had been found in a locked storage room, draped in blankets and surrounded in air fresheners to mask the smell. With the funeral home’s license now suspended, Moore’s husband Fred Parker Jr. and her son Taras Parker filed a lawsuit against First Family in March 2015.
“I never thought something like this could happen to her — to anybody,” Taras Parker told The Post and Courier.
“I just thought she would be in a better place somewhere.”
"Three years, how would you feel? It gets worse every day just thinking about it,” his father added.
A further investigation by the newspaper revealed that the state’s funeral industry is rife with similar delays and secrecy that is leaving even routine complaints not being addressed. In fact, with only two state inspectors serving hundreds of facilities statewide, even when funeral homes are inspected, as First Family was back in December 2017, cases such as Moore’s slip through the cracks. Certain cases are now lingering up to four or five years before being resolved for grieving families.
Previous to Moore’s case, two other customers of the funeral home had accused First Family of financial improprieties, even alleging that co-owner Lawrence Meadows, who was previously banned from working as a funeral director, handled their services. Meadows had his license revoked in 2015 for forging a name on a dead person’s life insurance paperwork to get access to the funds.
A South Carolina funeral home left a body to rot for years in a 'corrupt' system that protects homes. That's just one example.— Mitch Pugh? (@SCMitchP) June 28, 2018
It's a system rife with delays, secrecy and potential conflicts.
Read @glennsmith5 & @mkwildeman's outstanding reporting: https://t.co/1ZPQuusypR pic.twitter.com/dBk8Y5F4bu
After the discovery of her body, another local funeral home kindly stepped in and performed Moore’s cremation for free and her ashes are now where they rightly belong, residing in an urn in the Parkers' home beside a tiny driving license portrait of her, the only remaining photo they have left.
A full five months after the discovery, however, the family are beginning to wonder if they will ever have justice for how they were treated.
"She was just a lovely lady," her husband Parker said, explaining how they married after she escaped an abusive marriage and how she loved to read encyclopedias and go fishing.
First Family had been recommended to them by a relative.
H/T: Post and Courier
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