New York family is suing funeral homes, claiming daughter’s body was so decomposed she looked like a ‘mud monster’

A Brooklyn family has filed a lawsuit against a funeral home after they allege their loved one’s body was improperly stored ahead of their home service. During the ceremony, the family claims a maggot crawled out of the woman’s eyes, ruining the farewell to the loved one.

On Friday, August 5, attorney Kurt Robertson filed a complaint on behalf of Regina Christophe’s family in the Brooklyn Superior Court against the McManus Funeral Home at 4601 Avenue N in Kings County, New York.

Although she died of natural causes on June 24, the 37-year-old’s family scheduled the funeral for July 9, almost two weeks later. Her wish was to move the memorial to give other Florida relatives a few weeks to prepare their expenses for the unexpected trip to New York City.

They hired the John J. McManus and Sons Funeral Home to take care of the arrangements.

According to the Daily Mail, the family say the undertaker secured Christophe’s body from the undertaker on June 28 but, in their negligence, took poor care of the body once it was in their care.

The deceased’s mother, Chantel Jean, said that when the actual service took place, the funeral home did not complete the services they were supposed to perform, so her daughter’s body was decomposing, the skin on her face appeared to have “melted off” and a Maggot crawled out of the woman’s eye socket.

The grieving mum said: “Her face looked like it had sunken in. In fact, it looks like it was burned as fake skin was melted away from her face, an eye maggot came out of her eye.”

Aside from her body not being well groomed, she was not shown inappropriate clothing.

The family shared photos of the deceased with the public, including some showing her last outfit was dirty, stained and her face distorted – without presenting the beautiful person with the biggest smile her family had ever known. The mother and Christophe’s friend described her as having a “defaced body” partially wrapped in garbage bags.

“The last picture I saw was a monster in a coffin,” she said, adding, “An animal deserves a better funeral than what my daughter got.”

The family said they couldn’t understand why she looked so bad as she died peacefully in her sleep.

“The evidence strongly suggests that she was not embalmed, that she decomposed in the two weeks she spent at the funeral home,” Robertson told the New York Post.

“Apart from everything, it was just the incredible stench of the decomposing corpse that permeated the funeral home.

“It doesn’t look like a person at all,” the attorney claimed. “It looks like a mud monster.”

Before the funeral, Christophe’s two children, a 16-year-old and a 6-year-old, were stopped by their grandmother, who didn’t want the children to see what their mother looked like and that this would be their lasting memory.

No one could go inside as the decay of her body smelled the room – even preventing her from holding a closed coffin ceremony. They eventually had to remove the coffin from the room.

The relatives decided to show only one photo of Christophe during the service.

ABC News reported that Jean said, “The people who were supposed to be there to celebrate their lives have left. The look of the corpse in the coffin and the smell.”

Jean says she did not see her child until the day of the funeral.

“They told me I couldn’t see her the first time because she was naked,” she said. “I said OK. The second time she wasn’t wearing makeup.”

According to the family, on the day of the ceremony, they could not find anyone at the funeral home who could tell them what had happened, specifically why Christophe’s body had decomposed.

The undertaker claims they did their best for the woman and said they gave the family “a fair warning”.

A funeral director said everyone must be held accountable for the condition of the factors in the condition of the woman’s body. One thing to consider is the amount of time her body was left in the heat before ever getting to the coroner.

Another factor is the dwell time of the body in the examiner’s office.

A report noted that the undertaker picked up Christophe’s body from the coroner about four days after it was ready.

“I was devastated by this whole thing,” manager Anthony Tenga said. “By her looks. It was a real disappointment for me professionally and personally.”

The store’s owner said, “I thought I gave them a fair warning… we did our best.”

Robertson believes the funeral could have been better, stating: “Without question, there should be an inquest. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

“The family immediately took pictures of Regina when she passed, when the examiner took her,” he said. “The coroner only had them for two days, when the family spoke to the undertaker afterwards, there was no mention of a state of decomposition or anything like that.”

As a result, he says his client was unwell.

“She was depressed, she needed counseling, she had some pretty dark thoughts, to say the least,” Robertson said. “So she was in a very dark place.” New York family is suing funeral homes, claiming daughter’s body was so decomposed she looked like a ‘mud monster’

James Brien

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