SAN DIEGO (CN) – A Jehovah’s Witness says Humphrey Mortuary mutilated her son’s corpse and used “highly inappropriate and religiously offensive icons” at her son’s funeral, despite knowing the family is Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Celia Bach says Humphrey workers broke her son’s legs so they could stuff his body into a casket that was “far too small for [his] six foot five inch frame.” Her son, Michael Antunez, was 25.
Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that “icons are abominations,” Bach says. She says that though Humphrey knew the family’s religion, it wound a crucifix around Antunez’s hands, placed a large cross above his casket, and displayed an 8-by-10-inch picture of another man beside his casket.
At the funeral, Bach says she looked into the casket and “noticed that her son’s hands were tightly bound with a Catholic rosary, as if handcuffed. Plaintiff noticed misspellings in the translation of the prayer cards. All of this greatly concerned, upset, and agitated the bereaved plaintiff and other family members, who upon looking further into the casket witnessed [Antunez’s] contorted legs ‘stuffed’ into the undersized viewing casket. The legs appeared to protrude or thrust ‘uncomfortably’ upward to the roof of the casket.”
Bach says Humphrey management told her that her son “was not hurt.”
Bach also claims Humphrey sold her an urn that was too small to hold all of Antunez’s ashes. According to the complaint, Bach was “unable to keep all of her son’s ashes together for perpetuity in the sealed statue/urn of a soaring eagle that defendants had sold her, but instead was given a sealed plastic bag with the remaining ashes that did not fit in the cremation statue.”
Bach is represented in Superior Court by Michael Powell.