ARLINGTON — Lecresha Thompson says she will never forget that smell; the Arlington woman is suing a funeral home that she argues failed to properly refrigerate her mother's body before burial, leaving it to decompose.
Annie Thompson died in June 2010 during the heat of summer while being treated at a Fort Worth hospital.
When Thompson visited Angel Hills Funeral Home three days after the home took possession of her mother’s body, she says the stench was unbearable.
“And I’m like, 'What is that smell?'” she said.
Thompson said she was told it was her mother’s decomposing body. She is now suing the funeral home.
“I can still smell it. That smell is still stuck with me to this day," Thompson said.
The funeral home's owner, Lonnie Wright, declined to be interviewed on camera. However, he does not dispute the refrigeration system was broken, possibly for as long as three days.
In his defense, Wright said Thompson refused to sign a contract with the home in a timely fashion. He said that caused unnecessary delays and prevented his staff from embalming the body, which would have preserved it despite any problem with the cooler.
Ultimately, Annie Thompson’s body could not be displayed at her wake.
“Hardest part is no closure. You know, I haven’t had any closure," Lacresha Thompson said.
In addition to the decomposition, Annie Thompson's body was not fit for display because there had been an autopsy. Lacresha ordered that autopsy because she wanted to sue the hospital for malpractice.
The funeral home owner says, despite the broken cooler, this is a case of a customer trying to strongarm him to get her money back.
The Texas Funeral Service Commission has scheduled a hearing in the case for early next month.