Stuffing body with paper not illegal, report finds
VALDOSTA, Ga. — A south Georgia funeral home broke no laws when it used newspapers to stuff the body of a Valdosta teenager found dead last year inside a rolled up gym mat at his school, state regulators concluded in a report sent to the teen's parents.
The family of Kendrick Johnson, 17, filed a complaint with the Georgia Board of Funeral Service last year when the body was exhumed for a second autopsy and newspaper was found in place of organs.
Johnson's parents are fighting to have their son's death declared a homicide. Authorities concluded that it was a freak accident.
Attorneys for the Johnson family released a letter from the board saying it found Harrington Funeral Home broke no state law. However, the board noted that using newspaper to fill a body cavity is not considered a “best practice” and that other materials are more acceptable than newspaper, The Valdosta Daily Times reported on Saturday.
Roy Copeland, an attorney for the funeral home, said its owners were “certainly happy” with the finding that it had done nothing illegal.
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments â either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.