The family of Valdosta, Ga., teen Kendrick Johnson is suing the funeral home that processed his body.
News reports revealed that Johnson’s body cavity was stuffed with newspaper and had no internal organs. The family contends that the funeral home improperly disposed of Johnson’s organs to hinder the investigation into his death.
Harrington Funeral Home denied any wrongdoing while handling the body. The funeral home was cleared by the Georgia State Funeral Home Board, which ruled newspaper is not “precluded as one type of foreign substance that may be introduced into a body for purposes of building it up for public display.” When preparing a body for burial, usually the body cavity is dusted with embalming powder and filled with sawdust or other material mixed with embalming compounds.
The GBI did the initial autopsy and sent the remains to the funeral home; it was after the second autopsy that the family discovered the newspaper. The autopsy also revealed that Johnson died from blunt force trauma, which conflicted with the initial cause of death.