After Their Child Ended Up in Trash, Couple to Get $28M

Catheryne Lucero, Raul Manzano's son was supposed to be cremated
By Luke Roney,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 14, 2016 8:33 AM CDT
After Their Child Ended Up in Trash, Couple to Get $28M
A Miami police car is shown in this file photo.   (Walter Michot/The Miami Herald via AP)

Catheryne Lucero and Raul Manzano thought the body of their infant son, who died soon after his birth on Sept. 1, 2014, was being cremated. Instead, his remains ended up in a dumpster behind a gas station in North Miami, Fla., four days later. Now the couple have been awarded $28 million after a jury determined that the Carey Royal Ram'n Mortuary was negligent in its transport of the child's body, CBS Miami reports. A homeless man searching for food amid the trash found the baby in a cardboard box. A toe tag provided police with "a big clue," the Miami Herald reported at the time, as it suggested the boy had been dead for some time and perhaps came from a funeral home.

The discovery was heavily covered by the media, and "the really bad part is the parents had been watching the reports ... and were thinking what a tragedy this is," Neal Hirschfeld, their lawyer in the civil trial, tells the Miami Herald. "They were so distraught." Shortly after the baby was found, Jarren Hood, son of the funeral home owner, told the police that he was supposed to take the body to the crematorium but went home instead; someone then stole the box from his van. A state panel in May found that Hood "committed negligence, incompetency, or misconduct" during the transport, and the funeral home, which is still in operation, was fined, per Hirschfeld. Hood was charged only with resisting arrest in the incident. (Another funeral home laid out the wrong body.)

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