A Lancaster Woman is Suing In-Law's Funeral Home For Stealing Her Late Husband's Organs

Categories: Legal Battles

WilliamStanmore.jpg
Kevin Stanmore
Sheila Stanmore buried her husband, Kevin, in May 2008 after he was killed in a standoff with Grand Prairie Police. At least, she thought she buried him.

But what she and the couple's three daughters laid to rest at Community Missionary Baptist Church in Desoto wasn't quite what she thought. The corpse, according to a lawsuit filed last month in Dallas County, was empty, having had its organs removed by the funeral home.

But Stanmore didn't discover this until last summer when, while attending her mother-in-law's funeral in East Texas, she spotted a small plot bearing her husband's name, Relatives told her that's where Kevin's organs went.

"I screamed," she told WFAA. "I cried, and I took [the plaque] out of the ground. I became very angry."

She blames her brother-in-law, Vernon Stanmore, who runs Stanmore Funeral Home in Longview. According to the lawsuit, he offered to handle funeral arrangements for her husband, ultimately charging $15,000 for the service. She agreed, but the assumption was that Kevin would be buried, intact, at the Desoto plot where she and her daughters could visit.

Stanmore is seeking unspecified damages for past and future mental anguish for the funeral home's negligence. Vernon Stanmore declined WFAA's request for comment. No word on what the plans are for Kevin's organs.

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13 comments
ellis8402
ellis8402

I am speaking as a Funeral Professional and can at least give my common sense in maybe why they were not in the body.  

1: Being that this guy will killed in Dallas County and was under the age of 65, his body was take to the Dallas County Medical Examiner's Office for an autopsy.  -- When you have a autopsy we all know the "Y" incision is done and all the organs and contents are removed.

2: After the autopsy is complete the organs are bagged and tied and set back inside the body left for the funeral home to preserve. and the body has a partial stitch to hold the "Y" together.

3.  When the Medical Examiner does the autopsy the body arteries and veins are no long in tact creating the embalmer to do a 6 point injection to embalm the body, each leg, arm, head and then the best for the organs.

4: Even been to a viewing and you smell a weird smell?  Well most time the organs are placed back inside the body while inside the bag and chemicals are put in the bag to help preserve till burial.  I know from my work experience in funeral service, it's unfortunate that those parts really smell bad and can be even worse to the family to experience your loved one smelling as such while in repose.  There have been times I have went on funeral services and the organs where in a separate area and when placed in the foot of the casket at the burial site.

I know Mr. Stanmore and I know that he wouldn't do anything to deliberately bring grief to a family.  He is a humanitarian in the Longview community.  Stanmore Funeral Home is what you would classify as being the average corporate "Dignity" brand funeral home.  Someone pricey but great service.  The widow may have lost a husband, but image your own sibling and preparing your own siblings body.  I truly believe without a shadow of a doubt in my mind this was a human error and he had the respect to at least bury the remains and make a marker for it.  They could have been dumped or placed inside another body/casket but was not. I can go on and on about this but just have to say this much at least.  And to the comment about the resurrection without the organs; at least he will have more than what all the people who have cremated will have.  ;-)  I hope and pray this family finds comfort, however there was no wrong doing in my professional opinion. Maybe a phone call, who knows.  Blood family was in charge of the final arrangements so.... hmph

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

"gutless"

that guy has no heart.

blowmetone
blowmetone

I.. I.. Oh fuck it you finally have me speechless. 

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

The cats all got together and decided to be organ donors.  I think that is so kind of them.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

And we wonder why South Dallas is the economic cesspit that it is ...


they won't even help each other out ...

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

Granted, everyone has the right to keep their organs when they die and she should be furious.

That said, everyone should donate their organs anyway so family members can't steal them. They don't do you any good rotting away in your corpse, let someone else extend their life with something you don't need. Cause you're dead.

NewsDog
NewsDog

Not only did the brother-in-law take the organs, he charged her 15 grand for it. Wow.  

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

Wait.  Why were the organs removed?  Did the in-laws want part of the body buried near their home so they could visit at least some of the remains?  How bizarre.  I'd be furious, too, if I were the wife.

lisa_cato
lisa_cato

@Scruffygeist it's just that she forgot o mention she was divorcing Kevin! She fell to her knees because she figured out a way to squeeze money from his family. Quilt and Greed drives people to do all kinds of things. But what is worse is that Kevin never would have subjected his family to this ridicule. Obviously he had already purchased a burial plot in his home town! If the family was ugly they would have removed Shiela's name. What's sad is that his kids would go along with this!

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

@Scruffygeist god and Jesus need you to have your organs for the great resurrection.  of course, to the sin lot left behind, these people, "saints" according to the Bible are nothing but Zombies to the rest of us.  You know, one man's floor....

WhiteWhale
WhiteWhale

@NewsDog The brother on law is strongly being considered for a high management position in either government or banking 

lisa_cato
lisa_cato

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz she was divorcing him! The divorce would have been final 3 days after Kevin was killed! So if she didn't want him when he was alive, I doubt that she is going to visit the grave! This is a all time Low for this women! Greed and guilt!

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