Michelle Bias-Sullivan and her family have had quite a tragic week. Her son, 20-year-old Ralph Bias, was gunned down in a drive-by shooting on the Pontchartrain Expressway last Wednesday. On Friday, his mother learned that he had been mistakenly cremated.
“My husband passed out. I thought he had dropped dead right before my eyes. All I could do was just scream and holler,” she said.
Allain Hardin, the family’s attorney, says the mistake could have been an easy catch once the body made it to the funeral home. Bias is a young black male while the person who was supposed to be cremated is an elderly white male.
“When the funeral home came to pick up a ‘Mr L’ let’s say, it turns out the two body bags were together. They mis-read the tag. Instead of picking up ‘Mr L’ they picked up Ralph Bias’ body,” said Hardin. He believes beyond the wrong body being released, the funeral home did not follow regulations when it comes to cremation.
He said, “It is my understanding that the law requires that the funeral directors determine and make certain that they have the right remains before they deliver any body to a crematorium. In this case it appears to us that was not done.” Michelle Bias-Sullivan and her family now have to deal with a lost loved one and a lost opportunity to say goodbye.
“A cremation is not something that we wanted. I wanted to be able to view my son’s body and look at him for one last time before we actually bury him, and that was taken away from us,” Bias-Sullivan said.