Long Island Woman Finds Garbage in Cremated Remains Of Father

There is an interesting Long Island case that could be the basis for a lawsuit on the mishandling of a corpse. In spreading her father’s ashes around his favorite places (including on a dinosaur at the Museum of Natural History), Jennie Spooner, from Amityville, found an array of garbage in the urn, including ballpoint-pen springs, glass shards, metal staples and a half-melted crucifix.

Spooner, 52, even found unburned whisks of a dust broom. When she confronted the director of the Joseph Slinger-Hasgill Funeral Home in Amityville, she was told that he might have had the stuff in his pockets. Whisks of a dust broom?

Guidelines for crematoria require the removal of objects before cremation unless instructed otherwise by the family.

She is considering a lawsuit and she probably has a case. Most mishandling cases deal with a corpse as opposed to cremated remains. The mishandling of a corpse “requires a showing of interference with the right of the next-of-kin to dispose of the body,” but includes cases where “one improperly deals with the decedent’s body.” Massaro v. Charles J. O’Shea Funeral Home, Inc., 292 A.D.2d 349, (2nd Dept. 2002). There is also the negligent infliction of emotional distress claim that can be brought in the case.


13 thoughts on “Long Island Woman Finds Garbage in Cremated Remains Of Father”

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  2. nice article, I agree in some points about crematoriums, and its not garbage its Trash

  3. Sounds like someone dropped the contents of the urn and sweep it up. Unburned dusk broom how could that be possible. I’ve used Slinger Funeral Home many times never a problem.

  4. They don’t always clean out suit pockets before pushing the body thru. When we picked my Dad up from the funeral home, the director also gave us his glasses, wedding ring, watch, ect. He explained that they try to burn only organic parts so it will not mess up the process or something to that effect. I was also told by a person in the business that they dont always sweep all the remains up ssooo my could have company in his urn. We chose this process not anyone else and your Dad really does’nt mind…..trust me.

  5. I hope someone does not make an ash of themselves in this case. One would think others would have noticed and complained before, if this is an ongoing offense.

    The bottom line is that crematoriums must have the utmost care built into their practices.

  6. These items would not have made it through the grinding process. Cremation largely vaporizes the soft tissues, and leaves dried, charred bones, which are then run through a “cremulator” – a nice name for a grinder..

  7. Two hours at 1,600 degrees pretty much spells doom for a ballpoint pen spring.

    The magnetic pull process – if properly done – removes metal fragments.

    In the absence of Divine intervention, the crucifix shouldn’t survive, either.

    My take is, something is sloppy at Slinger-Hasgill, which would be no surprise, to those of us who have handled bodies.

    But I’ve never quite understood peoples’ tendency to freak out over what used to be – but isn’t any longer – Dad.

    As shoddily as humans are often treated when alive, we ought not be too stunned to discover how poorly our remains might be managed.

    I’d push for an investigation, maybe even an apology, and have a glass of wine in Dad’s honor. I’d hang a picture on a wall.

    But that’s just me.

  8. What damages can she prove? How much did it ‘cost’ her to find these objects?

    I have a lot of sympathy for her- she is probably in a lot of emotional pain because of the death of her father.

    I also believe companies should live up to their responsibilities. They should refund the costs of the cremation and perhaps be fined until they can operate according to the law.

    But I don’t believe this woman is entitled to become a millionaire because of this issue. If it is a common occurrence then the crematorium should be closed- but being offended, or having your feelings hurt, is not (in my opinion) cause for getting a large settlement.

  9. One more thing: the “guidelines” are “recommended procedures of the NACA.” They’re not law. They’re not public policy.

    So how does she have a case?

    I think this woman should take her case to Yelp and her blog, not the courts.

  10. There was a case a few years back where the crematorium was leaving the ash build up until the end of the day & then just dividing it between the number of customers they had that day. I believe they were found out in a similar discovery. That was rather callous handling.

    Maybe I’m just unsentimental but who gives a rip about ashes? One pile is the same as another & when I am gone I hope nobody spends a minute worrying about a body I no longer need.

  11. First off, this is not “garbage,” it is “trash.”

    If she has a case, I think it’s unfortunate. It’s not like the father is raising any objections. People are so litigious. They’re just ashes.

    Also, whisks of a dust broom? Couldn’t they have ended up in his ashes during the collection process? Couldn’t one or two whisks have fallen off when the cremator operator was collecting the ashes? (I’m not familiar with the process – just asking)

  12. It all sounds like something that could have been in his pockets…

    Are all cremated remains returned to the family?

    With the exclusion of minuscule and microscopic particles, which are impossible to remove from the cremation chamber and processing machine, all of the cremated remains are returned to the family.


    I knew a family member that was buried with a 6 pack and a half pint of whiskey…..


    My last thought is was she scattering the ashes without a proper permit…..something…just not quite right about her discovery of these objects….

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