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A grieving Missouri family is suing the funeral home which looked after their loved ones remains after they gave the relatives of the military veteran his brain in a cardboard box ‘by mistake’.

The family of Fred Love Jr. have filed a lawsuit against the home seeking damages of more than $25,000 after the error left the mourning family ‘devastated’.

Love, who served as a major in the U.S. Army and was a husband, father, and grandfather, passed away suddenly after collapsing at his O’Fallon home in September 2022. 

As an organ donor, Love’s body underwent tissue harvesting at Mid-America Transplant Services before being delivered to the St. Charles County Medical Examiner with the Baue Funeral Home providing the embalming and transportation services. 

The family were then given an urn containing what they believed to be the 68-year-old’s entire cremated remains following an October 2022 funeral. 

Military veteran’s family sue Missouri funeral home for returning his BRAIN in a cardboard box ‘by mistake’ after the organ donor was sent to be cremated

A grieving family from Missouri is suing a funeral home for $25,000 after they mistakenly provided them with the brain of 68-year-old Fred Love Jr., above, in a cardboard box

Eventually the family heard from Baue Funeral Home, pictured above, who confirmed that a 'mistake' had been made.

Eventually the family heard from Baue Funeral Home, pictured above, who confirmed that a ‘mistake’ had been made.

At the same time they were also given a plastic bag holding the dead man’s clothing, and a ‘cardboard box that would have been lying around the mortuary’.

A funeral home employee said ‘all of Fred’s remains were contained in the urn’ but it soon became clear all was not as it seemed.

During the family’s six hour journey back from the funeral home a pungent chemical smell appeared to coming from the box, which was placed unopened in a garage.

Initially the family decided not to open the box because of a biohazard label that had been stuck on the side.

Instead, they contacted the transplant center but they were unable to provide any information about the cardboard box’s contents. 

Eventually the family heard from Baue Funeral Home who confirmed that a ‘mistake’ had been made. 

Love, 68, who served as a major in the U.S. Army and was a husband, father, and grandfather, passed away suddenly after collapsing at his O'Fallon home in September 2022

Love, 68, who served as a major in the U.S. Army and was a husband, father, and grandfather, passed away suddenly after collapsing at his O’Fallon home in September 2022

‘Essentially you guys were given a box that contains Fred’s brain by mistake by the funeral home,’ a worker is alleged to have told them.

Upon opening the box, sure enough Fred Love’s entire brain was sitting before them.

The Baue Funeral Home care manager explained that Love’s ‘brain was removed and embalmed separately from his body because he underwent a partial autopsy,’

It has left the family desperately seeking answers. 

‘Over a year after the events, we are still wondering how something so shocking could happen,’ the family said in a statement.

‘Fred’s passing was devastating for the whole family…The acts giving rise to this lawsuit made the experience of his passing all the more difficult,’ they added.

‘No one accepted responsibility for the brain being given to the Family and not cremated with Fred.’

The family is suing Baue Funeral Home and Mid-America Transplant for negligence with a jury trial scheduled for April. Both have denied any wrongdoing.

‘We have standard protocols that we consistently follow through the donation process to ensure we honor the integrity and dignity of the heroic individuals who say yes to organ and tissue donation,’ a statement from Mid-America Transplant stressed.

Through the suit, the family who say they have been left devastated by the experience hope they can obtain some kind of accountability while preventing any similar incidents from occurring in the future.

‘Collectively, we have never heard of this occurring to another family, and thus we are uniquely alone in seeking answers,’ the family said. 

‘We hope this lawsuit helps us in obtaining some accountability, and we hope it contributes to preventing something like this from ever happening again to any family.’

They allege that all the parties involved appear to be shifting the blame and refusing to take responsibility for the incident.

‘I’ll acknowledge our breakdown, but I’d say multiple systems broke down,’ Baue Funeral Home Director Colby Hitchcock told KMOV. ‘I’m not going to bear 100% responsibility. I’ll take responsibility for our part of it.’ 



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