UNITED STATES NEWS

Prisoners’ bodies returned to families without heart, other organs, lawsuit alleges

Jan 10, 2024, 7:09 PM

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — The bodies of two men who died while incarcerated in Alabama’s prison system were missing their hearts or other organs when returned to their families, a federal lawsuit alleges.

The family of Brandon Clay Dotson, who died in a state prison in November, filed a federal lawsuit last month against the Alabama Department of Corrections and others saying his body was decomposing and his heart was missing when his remains were returned to his family.

In a court filing in the case last week, the daughter of Charles Edward Singleton, another deceased inmate, said her father’s body was missing all of his internal organs when it was returned in 2021.

Lauren Faraino, an attorney representing Dotson’s family, said via email Wednesday that the experience of multiple families shows this is “absolutely part of a pattern.”

The Associated Press sent an email seeking comment late Wednesday afternoon to the Alabama Department of Corrections.

Dotson, 43, was found dead on Nov. 16 at Ventress Correctional Facility. His family, suspecting foul play was involved in his death, hired a pathologist to do a second autopsy and discovered his heart was missing, according to the lawsuit. His family filed a lawsuit seeking to find out why his heart was removed and to have it returned to them.

“Defendants’ outrageous and inexcusable mishandling of the deceased’s body amounts to a reprehensible violation of human dignity and common decency,” the lawsuit states, adding that “their appalling misconduct is nothing short of grave robbery and mutilation.”

Dotson’s family, while seeking information about what happened to his heart, discovered that other families had similar experiences, Faraino said.

The situation involving Singleton’s body is mentioned in court documents filed by Dotson’s family last week. In the documents, the inmate’s daughter Charlene Drake writes that a funeral home told her that her father’s body was brought to it “with no internal organs” after his death while incarcerated in 2021.

She wrote that the funeral director told her that “normally the organs are in a bag placed back in the body after an autopsy, but Charles had been brought to the funeral home with no internal organs.” The court filing was first reported by WBMA.

A federal judge held a hearing in the Dotson case last week. Al.com reported that the hearing provided no answers to the location of the heart.

The lawsuit filed by Dotson’s family contended that the heart might have been retained during a state autopsy with intent to give it to the medical school at the University of Alabama at Birmingham for research purposes.

Attorneys for the university said that was “bald speculation” and wrote in a court filing that the university did not perform the autopsy and never received any of Dotson’s organs.

United States News

Associated Press

Pursuit of Milwaukee carjacking suspects ends with police shooting 2 teens in stolen vehicle

MILWAUKEE (AP) — A police pursuit of carjacking suspects in Milwaukee ended Thursday with police firing into the vehicle and injuring two teens, one of whom was pregnant and lost her baby, Milwaukee police said. Officers tried to stop the stolen vehicle just before 2:30 p.m. on Interstate 43 north of Milwaukee. The pursuit ended […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

2 crop dusting airplanes collided in southern Idaho, killing 1 pilot and severely injuring the other

ARCO, Idaho (AP) — Two crop dusting airplanes collided near an airport in southern Idaho on Thursday and crashed to the ground, killing one of the pilots and leaving the other with life-threatening injuries, officials said. The crash was reported at about 12:30 p.m. in an area covered by sage and grass near the airport […]

5 hours ago

Associated Press

Seattle police officer fired for off-duty racist comments

SEATTLE (AP) — A Seattle police officer was fired for calling his Chinese American neighbor racist and sexist slurs while off duty in 2022, according to a news report. Officer Burton Hill was fired in May, The Seattle Times reported. The termination stemmed from an altercation with his neighbor, Zhen Jin, over the disposal of […]

6 hours ago

Associated Press

Appeals court panel refuses to delay Trump ally Steve Bannon’s 4-month contempt prison sentence

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal appeals court panel on Thursday rejected longtime Donald Trump ally Steve Bannon’s bid to stay out of prison while he fights his conviction for defying a subpoena from the House committee that investigated the U.S. Capitol attack. Bannon is supposed to report to prison by July 1 to begin serving […]

7 hours ago

Associated Press

2 killed in helicopter crash in Washington state, authorities say

BLUESTEM, Wash. (AP) — Two men died in a helicopter crash in eastern Washington state, authorities said. Lincoln County Fire District 6 Chief Brandon Larmer told KREM-TV that the helicopter had two people aboard when it crashed Wednesday afternoon. The men who died were identified Thursday as 68-year-old Ryan Sandvig, of Spokane, and 63-year-old Mark […]

9 hours ago

Associated Press

Gold bars and Sen. Bob Menendez’s curiosity about their price takes central role at bribery trial

NEW YORK (AP) — Prosecutors showed jurors at Sen. Bob Menendez ’s trial on Thursday multiple instances when he researched the value of gold as he tried to help a New Jersey businessman who authorities say bribed him with gold and cash. The evidence about the Democrat’s online searches was prominently displayed to a New […]

10 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s how to be worry-free when your A/C goes out in the middle of summer

PHOENIX -- As Arizona approaches another hot summer, Phoenix residents are likely to spend more time indoors.

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

Prisoners’ bodies returned to families without heart, other organs, lawsuit alleges