A North Philadelphia man who was employed at a Camden funeral home has been charged with a misdemeanor offense of abuse of corpse after he allegedly dumped a child-size casket with human organs inside on a North Philadelphia sidewalk in early July, authorities said Thursday.
Jeremy Brooks, 24, of the 3100 block of North 29th Street, worked at Stanley's Memorial Chapel, 822 Kaighns Ave.
He was arrested and charged Aug. 21, and posted bail that day. He could not be reached for comment Thursday. A supervisor for the Defender Association of Philadelphia, which is representing him, did not return a call seeking comment.
Capt. Malachi Jones of Northwest Detectives has said the organs belonged to a girl about 3 or 4 months old, who had died and was buried June 29. The death was not believed to be suspicious.
The organs, taken out during an autopsy, had been put in a plastic bag and should have been buried with the baby, officials have said.
Instead, they were inside the white casket dumped July 3 in the 3000 block of West Clearfield Street. A passerby called police that night.
Court documents show that Brooks and another worker at the funeral home, Steve Sandlin, spoke to police July 5. Sandlin identified himself as the owner of the funeral home and said Brooks was a part-time employee.
Sandlin told police that during the baby's June 29 funeral services at Wayland Memorial Baptist Church in West Philadelphia, the casket in which the child originally was viewed became damaged and the lid would not close.
He said he called another funeral home to obtain a new casket and then transferred the body to the new casket. But in his haste, Sandlin said, he forgot to transfer the bag with the embalmed organs, the documents say.
Sandlin said he then put the damaged casket in an unsealed trash bag and into the back of his work vehicle, which was then parked outside of the Camden funeral home until July 3.
Brooks told police that he was asked by Sandlin on July 3 to drive the vehicle to Philadelphia to pick up another casket. He said he then realized that the damaged casket was in the back and to make room for the new casket, he sought to place the damaged casket at his North Philadelphia house, but his sister refused.
"Brooks then admitted he looked around for a place to 'dump' the casket," the court document says. He then "decided to short dump the casket on the sidewalk at 3000 Clearfield Street, due to its secluded nature." The block is across from a cemetery.
A call to Stanley's Memorial Chapel was answered Thursday by a man who identified himself as Theo Stanley, who said he is the owner. He said Sandlin and Brooks were both drivers for the funeral home but no longer are employed there.
Sandlin is not charged with a crime. He could not be reached by phone.