A grieving St. Louis mother says a funeral director refused to let her see the body of her 9-month-old baby after he died in a house fire.
“These weeks have been the worst weeks of my life since I lost my son,” Dashia Martin told KCPQ.
Martin’s 9-month-old son, Dashawn, was killed in a house fire. The mother left her baby with her cousin that night so she could start searching for an apartment early the following morning. It was the first time she had left his side, she says.
“His first time leaving, and he never came back,” Martin said. “So I do blame myself sometimes. If I was there I would have saved my baby. My baby would still be here.”
Martin’s cousin’s apartment building caught fire that night. Fire officials say there were six adults and two other small children inside the building when the fire broke out. Several other victims were rushed to the hospital in critical condition, according to KTLA.
Dashawn was found on the building’s second floor. Officials said that his body was burned to badly that they needed to do a DNA test to identify the infant.
Martin says that even as she prepared for her son’s funeral, she had not been allowed to see her son’s body.
“That’s the most heartbreaking thing I ever heard, is tell me I can’t see my child,” Martin said.
Funeral director Ronald L. Jones says he made the decision not to allow Martin to see her baby’s body to protect her from psychological trauma.
“The question is, what will she see? She won’t see nothing that looks like her baby,” Jones said.
He continued, “She could have a heart attack, she could have some emotional trauma behind seeing it, and then who’s liable?”
Martin feels that no matter how traumatic it may be to see her son’s body, it would offer her some closure and ease feelings of pain and guilt.
Family members say they had felt left in the dark throughout the investigation and that their questions were not being answered and phone calls were not being returned.
Martin and her family set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for a proper burial for Dashawn.