PHOENIX (CN) – The uncle of an Air Force pilot who was shot down and killed in North Vietnam in 1968 says a Glendale funeral home refuses to return his nephew’s remains for proper burial. Lt. Col. Earl. P. Hopper Jr. was shot down and killed in North Vietnam in January 1968.
The U.S. Department of Defense located Hopper’s remains and returned them to his father, Earl P. Hopper Sr., in April 2004, according to the complaint in Maricopa County Court.
Earl Hopper Sr., a retired U.S. Army colonel, died in July this year. His wife brought his son’s remains to the Chapel of the Chimes Funeral Home to be buried along with his father. Patty Hopper married Earl Sr. after his first wife died.
She says the funeral home and its corporate parent, SCI Funeral Services, refuse to return Earl Jr.’s remains to the family.
The Air Force says that Earl Sr.’s brother, Michael Hopper, is the authorized person to gain possession of his brother’s remains.
Patty Hopper delivered Earl Jr.’s remains to the funeral home to be buried with his father. But the funeral home refuses to do that without a court order, according to plaintiff Michael Hopper, who is represented by David Cantelme.