In Suffolk County Superior Court in Massachusetts, the civil trial between a Boston couple and J.S. Waterman and Sons funeral home began on Thursday. Robert and Therese Bellisimo Benedict are suing the Boston funeral home for losing their stillborn son’s remains and possibly cremating him with the body of an adult woman.
The boy, named Lourdes, was a twin who died in Therese’s womb at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in April 2003. His brother, Cole, survived.
The Benedicts retained the services of the funeral home to take care of their son’s remains while they took care of Cole, who had been born premature. A casket was purchased for the body, and they intended to eventually lay their son to rest in an Everett cemetery.
On July 28, 2003, the funeral home contacted the couple to report that Lourdes’s remains could not be found. Funeral home employees checked a medical waste disposal system, an elevator shaft, coffins with corpses in them, and a nearby dumpster.
Several months later, the Benedicts sifted through the remains of a woman who had been cremated to see if they could find their son. DNA testing proved that there was a male presence in the ashes but could not confirm that it was Lourdes.
During his testimony on Thursday, Robert expressed sorrow that they have never been able to confirm if the ashes belonged to their son. The couple says they have suffered emotional anguish from the loss of their son’s body and their inability to receive closure.
Court hears of a grief compounded, Boston.com, February 22, 2008
Trial begins in case where Boston funeral home lost remains of couple’s stillborn child, Boston.com, February 21, 2008
Related Web Resource:
JS Waterman & Sons-Waring