INDIANAPOLIS - The former director of an Indianapolis funeral home claims he was ordered to combine random human remains to cover for missing medical cadavers.
David Eckert, who was the director of Edwards' Family Mortuary at 1202 S. Lynhurst Drive, which is owned by Alpha Funeral Service, is suing his former employer after he said he was forced to resign in October due to unlawful actions.
In the lawsuit, Eckert said that he was unable to find the remains of three medical cadavers that were scheduled to be loaned to Indiana University's School of Medicine last summer.
When he asked Alpha Funeral Service owner Anthony Edwards what to do about the missing bodies, Eckert claims Edwards told him to "get this handled and taken care of."
Eckert said he understood Edwards' statement as an order to gather three separate containers of random remains and fake up the bodies for the school and the families, a practice Edwards had done in the past, Eckert claims.
"The only possible way to 'get this handled and taken care of' was to create fake remains and false ID tags, and misrepresent the identity of fake remains to (the medical school) and the heirs (of the bodies)," according to the lawsuit.
Eckert said he refused to carry out Edwards' orders, but that he learned later that Edwards and others had proceeded with the plan to assemble false remains.
Eckert, who resigned in October, claims he suffered harm as a result of his former employer's unlawful actions.
He is seeking back pay, lost wages and benefits, compensatory damages for emotional pain and suffering and punitive damages.
An attorney for Alpha Funeral Service told RTV6 that his client denies all allegations.
A Fort Wayne Funeral Director, who belongs to the Indiana Funeral Directors Association and subscribes to its Code of Ethics, called the actions, if true, reprehensible.
"This is an anomaly. This is something that needs to be stopped," he said. "And I, as a funeral director, and just as a fellow human and a citizen, I'm totally saddened by this for the family members that are involved."