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A South Jersey woman claims a funeral home let her brother’s body “decompose” in their facility before the service was set to take place.

Ashkeya Pratt-Williams has filed a lawsuit against Carl Miller Funeral Home in Camden for allowing the body of her recently deceased brother, John Ross Pratt, to decompose in a garage.

Pratt died in his home of natural causes on Sept. 17, and the suit alleges that his sister contracted Carl Miller Funeral Home to handle his services. She reportedly signed off on embalming his body in order to have an open casket service.

But three days later, Ashkeya was told by funeral home manager Pamela Miller Dabney that Pratt’s body had been “stored” in a garage, had not been embalmed and “that the body was decomposing and had an odor.”

She then recommended Pratt be cremated for the closed casket ceremony since “no one would know if anything was inside,” the suit alleges.

When cousin Jeri McBride learned of this, she recorded a Facebook live to express her frustration.


“When your loved one goes on, that’s a pivotal moment for you to be able to say goodbye,” she said. “They robbed her of that.”

The family’s attorney Conrad J. Benedetto, alleges in the suit that the funeral home was negligent and inflicted emotional distress on the family.

“As we allege in this complaint, through its wrongful actions, the Carl Miller Funeral Home took away the Pratt Family’s one last chance to say ‘goodbye’ to John,” Benedetto said in a statement Wednesday.

Pratt-Williams and her family held a service for Pratt on Sept. 29 at Bell-Hennessy Funeral Home in Williamstown instead.

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