Mom says funeral home messed up son’s burial

September 29, 2023
Deon Cadien
Deon Cadien

When Deon Cadien tragically lost her son to a drive-by shooting on August 6, she hoped that, at the very least, she could give him a proper send-off.

But the 55-year-old said that the funeral home that she entrusted with handling her son's body did a terrible job. Three days after her son, Dwayne Cridland, 32, was gunned down, a post-mortem was done, after which the funeral home received his body. Cadien selected this home based on a relative's recommendation, which instilled confidence in her that she would receive exemplary service. However, she has been left bitterly disappointed.

"I can hardly fathom that young individuals would take advantage of me in such a way. They failed to provide me with even half of the services promised for the funeral. Can you imagine the sight of the casket? When we went to look at the casket before the funeral they told us it was made at a different place, so on the day it was a big surprise. It was torn up and it looked like an old board he wrapped with paper. They used two old hinges I've never seen on caskets before. They had an assistant constantly present, preventing us from opening it, stopping me from seeing my son" a tearful Cadien lamented.

Cadien said that when they arrived at Meadowrest Memorial Gardens she cried and begged them to open the casket. What she saw raised her blood pressure to the point where she felt like veins were popping out of her head.

"When it opened I saw that the body was decomposing, I saw that flies were taking the body. That is why they didn't want to open it in the church and didn't come to the house. There was nothing under his head. When I touched his hair it was so heavy, I don't know if it was cement holding it down. Inside the casket was dirty and full of sawdust! I nearly fainted," Cadien said, displaying pictures of her deceased son.

"He died suddenly, in good health, with plans to migrate. I never envisioned that our last meeting would truly be our last. His burial was meant to be my last goodbye, yet I couldn't even properly grieve. I paid the money to ensure he got a good burial, and all I witnessed was a torn up casket and what looked like board in my son's hand," she said, her tears flowing.

Cadien said she paid $500,000, expecting it to cover various services including the printing of programmes, the designing of button and shirts, the placing of advertisements, and the casket. Regrettably, she told THE WEEKEND STAR that she received less than half of the services she had paid for.

Calvin Lyn, president of the Jamaica Association of Certified Embalmers, said people have to be very careful not to be tricked by persons who claim to be professionals.

"Those who are not qualified to embalm, I don't call them funeral operators, I call them untrained operators or fly-by-nights," said Lyn, who has been in the business for decades.

"My association's members are qualified embalmers, so no matter the state of the body, we would discuss that with the family and tell them how we are treating it. We have the chemicals to treat advanced decomposed bodies so we would not restrict a family from saying their goodbyes," he explained.

Lyn stressed that there is a listing of trained embalmers that people should look for in media publications. He stressed that regulations for the industry are overdue and are needed to correct these issues.

"What is causing this long delay to put the regulations into law? We believe this has been in the pipeline from 2014 and it needs to be enforced to restrict these fly-by-nights. Every profession has to study for what they practise and it should be the same for this one," Lyn said.

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