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Judge recommends Alamance funeral director lose license

Posted October 26, 2011

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— An administrative judge recommended on Wednesday that an Alamance funeral home director accused of leaving a decomposing body in a hearse for nine days last year lose his license.

David B. Lawson arrived about 40 minutes late to his hearing at the Office of Administrative Hearings in Raleigh. He said he had gotten lost.

Lawson is accused of leaving the body of 37-year-old Linda Walton in a hearse behind his mortuary on Aug. 20, 2010. 

Walton died of natural causes and was found in her Carrboro apartment on Aug. 11. Police called Lawson's mortuary to pick up the body after failing to find Walton's next of kin. 

Lawson, a licensed funeral director for 34 years, said he had been waiting on police and had no choice but to keep her body in the hearse because he had no place else for it.

“I had to put it back out there. I had nowhere else to take it,” Lawson said during the hearing.

Lawson said he contacted the North Carolina Board of Funeral Service to determine what he should do with the body. He was waiting to secure permission from the local social services department to cremate the body. 

He had tried embalming the body, he said, but it was badly decomposed. 

David B. Lawson mortuary Alamance funeral director could lose license

Capt. Joel Booker with the Carrboro Police Department said officers also told Lawson on Aug. 16, 2010, that Walton's relatives had been notified.

Walton was cremated after Lawson got permission on Aug. 20, 2010 – the day police found her body in the hearse. 

Another issue discussed at Wednesday’s hearing was pre-need funeral contracts. Some clients testified that they entered into such contracts with Lawson, then learned that he did not have a license to sell them and had difficultly getting their money back.

The judge said the issue of not having a pre-need license was the main reason why he recommended Lawson lose his license.

The final decision on Lawson’s license will be up to the state Board of Funeral Service.

11 Comments

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  • fayncmike Oct 27, 4:08 p.m.

    "Another soul that no relative claimed
    ryderservices"

    If I'm not mistaken it's my understanding that people who believe in most of the major gods also believe that the soul leaves the body upon death. Of course no one really knows but sometimes beliefs can be quite strong. That being the case and if the people REALLY believed all that soul stuff why would they worry about the corpse? As I said before, the corpse is really nothing but an inconvenient disposal chore. There are two viable disposal choices. One may have the corpse harvested for useable organs or one may make the corpse available to medical schools for teaching purposes. Both methods have merits. The former works best for younger corpses while the latter is best for older corpses. We chose the latter. Upon our death our corpses will go to UNC. When they're done with them they will cremate whatever is left. They are willing to return the ashes. As far as we're concerned they may just flush the ashes.

  • wildcat Oct 27, 1:02 p.m.

    He should lose his license permantely. He knew the law and ethics. That was not respect the deceased at all. Take his license and may others learn from this.

  • what_in_the____ Oct 27, 10:11 a.m.

    I reckon this guy looks at dead people as objects and not as people, quite pathetic. I hope he does lose his license.

  • ryderservices Oct 27, 9:30 a.m.

    Another soul that no relative claimed..... We will see more and more of this as social services is understaffed and undertakers are placed in the position of final disposition of the homeless

  • fayncmike Oct 27, 9:17 a.m.

    Actually I never understood the fascination people have with corpses anyway. Be there a god or not. Be there heaven or hell, once someone dies the corpse is nothing but an inconvenient disposal problem. For people to spend thousands to dispose of it is ludicrous. To tie up traffic while they drag the corps around is ludicrous. My wife and I have a much cheaper, simpler solution. When we die our corpses will go to UNC. There, at least they will be of some practical use. The only expense involved will be to transport us there and actually, according to law that can be done by any private means.

  • fayncmike Oct 27, 9:11 a.m.

    "How about calling the police back and tell them there's no room in your inn. Geez......
    2the"

    If you had read the story you'd know he did contact the proper people and got no answer.

    "Lawson, a licensed funeral director for 34 years, said he had been waiting on police and had no choice but to keep her body in the hearse because he had no place else for it.

    “I had to put it back out there. I had nowhere else to take it,” Lawson said during the hearing.

    Lawson said he contacted the North Carolina Board of Funeral Service to determine what he should do with the body. He was waiting to secure permission from the local social services"

  • Im Aiken for Clay Oct 27, 8:43 a.m.

    Odd story.

  • cavewoman192003 Oct 26, 7:22 p.m.

    It should be "I had to take her" not "it" back out there. He acts as if the woman whom passed is nothing more than an object than a person. Some people don't care like they used to for the deceased.

  • mfarmer1 Oct 26, 7:07 p.m.

    hearse for nine days, and it was ok to leave a dead body laying around. sometimes I wonder about people.

  • LovemyPirates Oct 26, 6:54 p.m.

    Really, no place else to "put her." How about calling the police back and tell them there's no room in your inn. Geez......

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