Family wants $2 Million for Botched Cremation

2002-10-01

View the original article as a PDF

Head was discovered at waste plant

BARTOW – When George DeWayne McKown died of a heart attack in Fort Myers, his family agreed to let a nonprofit company take body parts in exchange for free cremation.

Some family members say they didn’t realize the company would strip the body of its head, arms, penis and legs and all they would receive was ashes from his torso. The rest of his body ended up in a medical waste incinerator because officials, learned McKown had hepatitis C, making his body unsuitable for organ transplant or research.

The family is suing for more than $2 million in damages.

A lawsuit, claiming the family suffered severe emotional damage because of mishandling of the body, will go to a Polk County jury for a verdict today.

McKown, 53, died in June 1998 of heart problems while working as a custodian at a Fort Myers’ lounge. Brett Harding, an investigator for the Lee County Medical Examiner’s Office, contacted McKown’s sister, Donna Harlan, and offered to have him cremated and his ashes returned to his native Iowa in exchange for the donation of vital organs and the spinal cord, the lawsuit states.

Click on the View PDF button on top to view full article.