A California couple trusted a funeral home to cremate their stillborn baby. However, the funeral home haunts them and the facility goes up in flames. they are still looking for answers.

Shavonne Morton in a white lace dress and her husband Jamal in a gray shirt.

Shavonne Morton and husband Jamal.Courtesy of Shavonne Morton.

  • Last June, Chavonne Morton entrusted the services of her stillborn baby to Akes Family Funeral Home in California.

  • She wanted her baby, named Jamila, to have an “intact” body to admire when viewed.

  • However, the funeral home gave her an “escape route” and now she doesn’t know what happened to Jamila’s body.

Shavonne Morton’s baby girl, Jamila, was stillborn when she gave birth last June.

At 22 weeks, she and her husband, Jamal, were told Jamila had no heartbeat. But they chose pregnancy and childbirth because they wanted to have an honorable body.

After being discharged from the hospital, the couple handed over the body to the Akes Family Funeral Home in California. It was already a familiar place when she cremated her eldest daughter nine years ago.

But this time it was different.

It all started with a silent call

Morton and her husband called the funeral home incessantly to inquire about the condition of the body.

Then days turned into weeks. And no call back.

Morton, 41, said in an interview, recalling the process of his oldest daughter’s funeral, “Last time I was able to see my child before cremation. ‘But this time it was kind of an excuse.'”

Morton said the lack of communication was particularly offensive because the family had paid the funeral home in full last year.

“It was weird. I don’t know if they didn’t want me to see her or there was something wrong, but they didn’t answer the phone,” she said.

Morton said the family wanted to see the body one more time before cremation. After several weeks of silence from the funeral home, they finally responded. said.

Morton asked her two sons, ages 7 and 13, to see the bodies as well. According to Ms. Morton, one of her sons was looking forward to seeing her sister. He “touched my belly every day. I wanted him to at least see her and get closure,” she said.

That’s another reason Jamila chose to give birth, even though she knew she would be stillborn. gave. She could either vacuum her baby out of her womb and end it, or go through labor and push the baby out.

“I went through all the deliveries and deliveries just so I could have her unscathed,” Morton said.

The birth lasted two to three hours and the pain was excruciating, she said.

But at least the body was intact, she thought, and could be sent to the funeral.

Nine years ago the process was ‘seamless’

Morton said her attorney found numerous positive reviews on Google when researching funeral homes. However, within two years of this her reviews began to deteriorate.

It is unclear whether it was due to the COVID-19 pandemic or other factors.

But nine years ago, the process was “seamless.”

“Honestly, it was a no-brainer,” Morton said.

She had been examined before cremation, and no one had denied her request.

Morton said he wanted Jamila’s body scattered at sea. Her husband considered keeping her ashes. They also considered services for girls.

“It was our last closure, so I felt robbed of it,” Morton said.

“Circular” about Jamila

The funeral home said it would contact Morton once the cremation was over, she told the insider.

But they never did. Morton called again. And again there was no answer.

“I called, I called, and I just made a detour from each office,” she said. , I thought it was strange, but you’re grieving and it feels strange that you’re chasing a body.”

Her husband Jamal then decided to visit in person.

Akes has two locations. One of his morgues is in Corona, Calif. and the other is in Riverside.

When he arrived at Corona’s location, the staff told him that Jamila’s body had been sent to the Riverside location.

The funeral home caught fire on November 5, according to an incident report from the Riverside Fire Department obtained by an insider. The Riverside location had two of his buildings connected by a vent, reports say. First responders were able to prevent the fire from reaching the main building. However, the interior suffered smoke damage as the smoke entered the main building through the vents.

Arson investigators determined the fire was caused by a “wiring fault” and ruled it to be an accident.

Arson investigator Rafael Llamas wrote in his report that multiple computer printers and electronic devices were all plugged in and “extensively damaged and completely destroyed.” “The wires leading to and from the outlet had penetrated the insulation, exposing bare wires.”

No one called from Akes to inform Morton of the fire.

More than a year later, Morton still doesn’t know if his daughter’s body was actually cremated or was lost in the fire.

“This is very crazy. Now you’re telling me they started the fire, so I don’t know if anything happened to the rest of her,” Morton said. I don’t know if I should

While at the scene, staff members told Jamal that someone would eventually contact them.

However, Morton is unsure to believe it after weeks of silence and a complete lack of communication.

“That was last November and we haven’t heard from him since,” Morton said in a recent interview with Insider.

She is currently considering legal action.

“If my husband hadn’t shown up, I wouldn’t have known anything,” she said.

“Let me tell you, this could easily damage the family,” she added. “It hurts. I don’t feel closed. I feel like I’ve been deprived of service to her. It was just weird.”

Morton said the funeral home changed its tune when she got a lawyer. They told her lawyer that her body had already been cremated last August.

“I don’t know what to believe,” Morton said. “I don’t know if it’s my daughter. It’s been a long time.”

She continued, “We’re just out of what they said. It’s sketchy. I don’t know. I feel like something is off.”

A fire engine that was dispatched to the scene on November 5 noted in its report that firefighters and some first responders were tasked with removing bodies from the morgue. It is unknown whose body they took from the morgue.

Akes Family Funeral Home did not respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Read the original article at insider