New Jersey woman sues funeral home, claims it let brother's body 'decompose'

Credit: Paul Kane/Getty Images

Credit: Paul Kane/Getty Images

A New Jersey woman is suing a funeral home, claiming it allowed her brother's body to "decompose" before services could be held, reported.

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Ashkeya Pratt-Williams filed a lawsuit Wednesday in Camden County Superior Court against Carl Miller Funeral Home in Camden and its employees, KYW reported. The suit alleges that the funeral home allowed the body of John Ross Pratt, who died Sept. 17, to decompose in an unrefrigerated garage for several days, reported.

According to court documents, the funeral home failed to embalm Pratt in a timely fashion after his death.

Pratt's family contacted the funeral home the day Pratt died. According to the lawsuit, Pratt-Williams signed off on her brother's embalming so the family could have an open-casket service, reported.

"Carl Miller buried everybody in my family, including my parents, my mom and my dad's side, so that's who I called," Pratt-Williams told KYW.

On Sept. 20, Pratt-Williams said she was told by funeral home manager Pamela Miller Dabney that there was a "problem" with her brother's body, reported.

According to the lawsuit, Dabney told Pratt-Williams that Pratt's body had been "stored" in a garage, had not been embalmed and "that the body was decomposing and had an odor." She recommended the family cremate Pratt and hold a closed-casket ceremony because “no one would know if anything was inside,” court documents allege.

Pratt-Williams’ cousin, Jeri McBride, recorded a Facebook Live video to express her frustration.

"When your loved one goes on, that's a pivotal moment for you to be able to say goodbye," McBride said in the 14-minute video. "They robbed her of that."

Pratt's family held a service for Pratt on Sept. 29 at Bell-Hennessy Funeral Home in Williamstown, reported.

Levi Combs, a spokesman for Carl Miller Funeral Home, told KYW the company had no comment about the lawsuit.

“Our integrity and our longstanding speaks for itself,” Combs told the television station.

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