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Funeral board to hold hearing on body left in hearse

Posted September 9, 2010
Updated October 26, 2011

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— The board that regulates the funeral business in North Carolina will hold a hearing about the mortuary that stored a decomposing body in a hearse for nine days.

Multiple media outlets reported the North Carolina Board of Funeral Service voted Wednesday to hold a hearing to determine if the David B. Lawson Mortuary violated the law or the agency’s rules. Graham police discovered the body of Linda Walton, 37, of Carrboro, on Aug. 20 in a hearse behind the mortuary.

Board director Paul Harris says the hearing likely will be held in a couple of months.

Lawson, a licensed funeral director for 34 years, told WRAL News that he didn’t have anywhere to store the body while he waited for permission to cremate it.

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  • mpheels Sep 9, 2010

    It's my understanding that the remains were already starting to decompose when they were found in the deceased's apartment, which is why Mr. Lawson couldn't embalm the body and why the facilities he normally contracts with for refrigeration would not accept the remains for storage. Sticking the remains in a hearse in the parking lot in the middle of the summer wasn't the best idea, but others contributed to and overall bad situation by not signing off of the cremation in a timely manner.

  • Whatever Geez Sep 9, 2010

    If he would have cremated or buried the body then I'm sure someone would have come forward and sued him for handling the body without permission...c'mon people. It wasn't smart to put the body outside no doubt

  • violetthorpe Sep 9, 2010

    i know David too,let the people who are in charge sort this mess out.You who are talking so much smack what have you done lately without getting paid..it's easy to say what you would have done,you don't know..why are all of you who post so critical?

  • gregg45 Sep 9, 2010

    that is the reason i am being buried on my family farm,, a gravesite service , in a pine box already made,, like in the old days ,, why spend 7000. $$ when you are dead ,, no embalming 4 me

  • DAVIDS MOM Sep 9, 2010

    I also know Mr. Lawson and you are correct about not "being the brightest star". I truly believe it was all about the money and taking a chance on not getting paid. Very sad, but thats my opinion from someone that has done work for him in the past.

  • wdrwomanp Sep 9, 2010

    Why didn't he refrigerate the body? Isn't that what they do when they receive one?

  • GroupOfPricklyPears Sep 9, 2010

    "Board director Paul Harris says the hearing likely will be held in a couple of months."

    Is he serious?! A couple of months?! Way to jump right on it to help restore consumer confidence. (sarcasm)

    May be time for some new regulations and laws for the funeral businesses in NC if their board cannot move any faster than a "couple of months" to internally address very serious issues like this.

  • bywnda Sep 9, 2010

    A case similar to this happened in Florida in the 80's. The only difference was that the funeral director had a city contract to bury indigents. The problem was that he wasnt doing this. Instead he had bodies stacked on top of bodies in caskets, hearses and in closets. The state had to call in a team of coroners to ID these people[about 30 I think]. The net result of this was only about 8 months in prison and loss of his license.
    Sad thing I know that even with license lossed these guys go back to work in the business. Only in a different capacity.

  • jbarron4950 Sep 9, 2010

    Lawson, a licensed funeral director for 34 years, told WRAL News that he didn’t have anywhere to store the body while he waited for permission to cremate it.

    I know David and he is not the brightest star in the sky. He had alternatives, but apparently chose not to use them. Anyone who has ever worked in the funeral business SHOULD know the ramifications of leaving a dead body exposed to the elements, especially heat. This only accelerated the decomposition process. It only takes one fly to get the maggot process started. He could have atleast embalmed the body which would have prevented all of this. The main purposes of embalming are sanitation and preservation and Mr. Lawson chose to ignore that. He doesn't need to be in the funeral business.

  • Whatever Geez Sep 9, 2010

    I agree.....

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