A toddler's body was wrongly cremated last week after an employee at the Franklin County Coroner's office failed to follow procedure and erroneously released the boy's remains to a funeral home.
According to a statement issued Monday by Franklin County Coroner Dr. Jan M. Gorniak, the employee in question was placed on administrative leave pending further investigation into the matter.
Family members said 14-month old Jaylen Talley died earlier this month as a result of complications from undiagnosed heart defect. Marco Talley, the boy's father, said the family was planning to bury the boy, but on Sunday afternoon Gorniak showed up at his home and said there had been a mix-up.
Jaylen Talley's body was picked up from the coroner's office last Wednesday and taken to the wrong funeral home, where it was mistaken for another child's remains and cremated, 10TV News reported.
Marco Talley said it was a mistake that no one can fix.
"I can't even bury him like I want to bury him," he said. "I have to bury him like I have been made to. I don't have a choice in the matter. The other family, I feel sorry for them because they wanted their child cremated. At least they can still cremate their son, but you can't bring ashes back to a body."
In her statement, Gorniak said the error was complicated by the funeral home and crematory, which failed to follow proper identification procedures prior to cremation.
"I cannot begin to understand what the family is going through and I extend my deepest apologies," Gorniak said.
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