Jamaica: Brite Lite funeral director shocked as he collects son’s body at airport

BY JAVENE SKYERS

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Director of Brite Lite Funeral Services and Supplies, Tommy Thompson (right) watches as the remains of his son, Andrew, are placed into a hearse.

(JAMAICA OBSERVER) – It’s a fate he said he would not wish on his worst enemy. Director and operator of Brite Lite Funeral Services and Supplies, Tommy Thompson, said he is hurt and broken about the manner in which his son’s body was sent to the island, so much so he will be taking legal action against the England-based funeral home responsible.

Thompson, whose 16-year-old funeral business is well known locally and internationally, said his grieving process has been made much worse due to the poor condition in which his 29-year-old son’s body arrived in the island yesterday afternoon at Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston.

“I’ve been in this business for a while, [and] our presentation is what made us what we are today. When I went to the airport and saw the condition my son was sent down in [it hurts]. He was not properly embalmed, it’s like when you go to a crime scene and just pick up a body; that was how I received my son, and that destroyed me,” Thompson told the Jamaica Observer in a phone interview last evening.

Thompson’s son, Andrew, was in his second year of pursuing a degree in engineering at a university in England, but was murdered two weeks ago, having been stabbed 15 times.

The funeral operator said the stabbing was “over a woman” and that the perpetrator later turned himself in to the police.

But the fact that his son’s murderer is no longer on the loose is little comfort to Thompson, who is now in the process of re-embalming his son’s body.

“Everybody was taken aback with what they saw. I couldn’t believe that here was my son; we gonna take legal action, whatever the cost, we are prepared to go all the way. Right now I have to be here fixing my son. I have no problem fixing him, but the family, my other kids, right now, they are all traumatised about the whole situation,” Thompson said.

He said so bad was his son’s condition that even the police officers on the scene said they had never seen a body in such bad condition and that even the handlers were shocked.

“The wounds were still open… his mouth was opened wide, and his mouth is supposed to be sewn shut from the inside… they did not seal his wounds, so they opened it to all kinds of bacteria, and he was in a body bag with his clothes on top. The world needs to know about this,” a clearly upset Thompson expressed.

“I’m looking at my son’s wounds, how could you do that to me? My son didn’t come in any clothes and we didn’t ask for voluntary services. We didn’t send out a Facebook request for help with money… my son’s services were paid for and this was how he came?” he further questioned.

He said that it was his son’s mother who made the arrangements, and he contributed to the services, and they were assured that everything was in place.

But Thompson maintained that this could not be the case based on what he saw yesterday.

“When I’m shipping a body out of Jamaica it’s for me ensure that the human remains are properly embalmed and the standards that the Jamaican system entrusted to me to execute are adhered to, that means full embalming,” Thompson said.

He noted that they try to ensure that they maintain the level of resemblance the person had, in addition to making sure the body is not suffering from any form of decomposition before placement in an airtight casket.

 

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3 comments

  1. Sir, I'm St. Lucian and know how you feel. An experience you will never forget. My uncle's son had a massive stroke in the US, he was sent down for burial, he was clothed, not embalmed properly, not trimmed, not shaved, and you could clearly see he was not bathed properly. Dried blood around his mouth and nose.
    The Director of the funeral home called me from work to see such nastiness. He sent them an email that they "never send a body to his funeral home in that condition," this is not the standard of business he offers in St. Lucia.
    So your story brought back tears, you are already grieving you should not be the one to embalm your son's body, you should not have to see the wounds. To them they are just sending some little black boy home. Be strong Sir! My Sincere condolences to you and family from me in St. Lucia. May he RIP.

    (9)(0)
  2. Unfortunate. Just goes to prove, nonsense happens everywhere. They probably made assumptions about him and treated him accordingly.
    I wish the family the best in grieving and legal proceedings.

    (18)(0)
  3. This is a traumatising experience. It is like grieving all over again. Very sad. By all means, the family deserves compensation. It sounds like they operated way below standard.

    (57)(0)

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