A Texas funeral home is being sued for $1 million by a family who says their loved one’s body was left “to literally rot” during Winter Storm Uri in 2021.
According to the lawsuit obtained by Fox 26 Houston, Julietta Guerra is seeking monetary relief from Integrity Funeral Home in south Houston after she said her son, Edward Silva, was not embalmed for four days.
Dolcefino Consulting said Silva died unexpectedly on Feb. 9, 2021, and the funeral home received his body on Feb. 11 from the Harris County Medical Examiner’s Office. His memorial service was set for Feb. 17.
The funeral home director, Hilda Rojas, reportedly assured Guerra her son would be embalmed and “they would make him look like he was real.” Rojas also reportedly told her she would be able to see him after the embalming, which would be by Feb. 12.
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In the lawsuit, Guerra said she called on Feb. 12, to ask if she could come to see her son’s body and was told he was not ready yet. The same thing happened the next day.
Winter Storm Uri then hit Houston on Feb. 14, and Guerra said she wasn’t able to get into contact with anyone at the funeral home, so she and her husband drove to the business and found the doors locked with no one inside. As they drove around the building, she said they noticed there weren’t any generators.
Rojas reportedly called Guerra to tell her the power was off and the service would have to be postponed. On Feb. 21, the lawsuit states he told her she could now come to see her son and the funeral could be held on Feb. 23.
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Guerra arrived at the funeral home on Feb. 22 with a beautician to do Silva’s hair and makeup. The lawsuit said he was “severely decomposed” and smelled so strongly that the beautician told Guerra’s sister to not let her see her son. The funeral home director allegedly did not say anything to any family member beforehand about the state of the body.
The lawsuit described his skin as “so delicate that when she put on the makeup, the skin was slipping and falling off.” His hair was also falling out as she tried to cut and style it.
“The body was badly deteriorated and smelled rotten. Edward had remained cut open and had not been sewn back up. His chest had a gaping hole, an empty cavity that was not stuffed. He did not seem like he had been embalmed. There was a terrible smell,” the lawsuit stated.
The funeral suit that the family had brought for Silva also would not fit because of “extreme post-mortem swelling.” The clothing ultimately had to be cut open and draped over his body for him to be able to wear it.
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At the funeral home, Rojas reportedly suggested that Silva’s body be sprayed with cologne to help mask the smell. He also suggested adding coffee grounds into the coffin, but nothing worked.
Guerra also asked Rojas why her son was bleeding and why his nails were black if he had been embalmed, according to the suit. She said he did not respond. Rojas reportedly tried to stick Q-tips in Silva’s ears to stop a liquid that was “oozing out.”
The lawsuit said the family had no choice but to hold a closed-casket service the day of the funeral because the smell was still so bad. More than 100 friends and family attended the funeral and noticed the smell, causing many to cover their noses. Some were even “retching” at the smell.
Days after the funeral, Guerra went to pick up her son’s belongings and was told by the director he assumed she wanted them to be thrown away. Reports suggest the items were tossed because they were “covered with discharge from a decomposing body.”
“No family should have to endure the desecration of their loved one’s body like the Guerra family did,” family attorney Omar Khawaja said. “We intend to hold Integrity Funeral Home at Forest Lawn Cemetery accountable for their egregious conduct.”
According to the lawsuit, Rojas called Guerra months after the funeral and pleaded with her not to sue the funeral home, stating they would have to “let people go” if she did.
The lawsuit states Integrity Funeral Home was “grossly negligent” in its actions and care of Silva’s body.
Guerra has reportedly suffered mental anguish and depression since the funeral home’s handling of her son. She is also said to be “haunted” by the horrific experience.
Fox News Digital has reached out to Integrity Funeral Home at Forest Lawn Cemetery for comment.
Source: Fox News