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Prison Nightmare: Alabama Inmates’ Bodies Returned to Their Families Without Organs

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In a shocking revelation, a federal lawsuit has been filed against the Alabama Department of Corrections, claiming that the bodies of two deceased inmates were returned to their families without crucial organs, including hearts. The lawsuit, filed by the family of Brandon Clay Dotson, who passed away in November, alleges that his body was in a state of decomposition, and his heart was missing when returned to his family.

The legal action sheds light on a disturbing pattern, as the daughter of another deceased inmate, Charles Edward Singleton, also attested that her father’s body was missing all internal organs when it was returned in 2021. Lauren Faraino, an attorney representing Dotson’s family, emphasized that the experiences of multiple families point to a distressing pattern of mishandling deceased inmates’ bodies.

In response to the lawsuit, the Alabama Department of Corrections has yet to provide a comment as of late Wednesday.

Dotson, 43, was discovered dead on November 16 at Ventress Correctional Facility. Suspecting foul play, his family enlisted the services of a pathologist for a second autopsy, revealing the disturbing revelation that his heart was missing. The family subsequently filed a lawsuit seeking answers as to why his heart was removed and demanding its return.

The lawsuit describes the handling of the deceased’s bodies as an “outrageous and inexcusable mishandling” that constitutes a violation of human dignity. It goes further to condemn the actions of the prison system, stating that their conduct is tantamount to “grave robbery and mutilation.”

The disturbing situation involving Charles Edward Singleton’s body was disclosed in court documents filed by Dotson’s family last week. Singleton’s daughter, Charlene Drake, recounted that a funeral home informed her that her father’s body arrived “with no internal organs” after he died in 2021 while incarcerated.

According to Drake’s account in the court filing, the funeral director explained that “normally the organs are in a bag placed back in the body after an autopsy, but Charles had been brought to the funeral home with no internal organs.” This revelation raises further questions about the handling of deceased inmates within the Alabama prison system.

A recent federal hearing in the Dotson case failed to provide answers regarding the whereabouts of the missing heart. The family’s lawsuit speculates that the heart might have been retained during a state autopsy with the intention of being given to the medical school at the University of Alabama at Birmingham for research purposes.

In response to these allegations, attorneys for the university dismissed them as “bald speculation,” emphasizing that the university did not conduct the autopsy and never received any of Dotson’s organs. As the lawsuit unfolds, the Alabama prison system faces intensified scrutiny over its treatment of deceased inmates and potential violations of ethical standards.

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