Funeral home owner says he's sorry after body mix-up

The owners and employees of John P. Franklin Funeral Home arrived at the funeral of Benjamin Brown Jr. after confusing his body with a stranger's. (Courtesy: WTVC)

On Thursday, Benjamin Brown Jr. was laid to rest during an afternoon funeral service at Prospect Baptist Church.

Family and friends were in attendance to honor Brown's memory.

Also there, the owners and employees of John P. Franklin Funeral Home, the business that presented a stranger's body to Brown's family in his place the day before.

" Nobody should have to go through that. Nobody," Brown's great nephew, Dominique Brown told NewsChannel 9 at the service.

Standing outside of the church, Dominique was visibly angered by the presence of the Franklin's.

"They're trying to play it off like yesterday never happened," Dominique said.

The young man says remembering his uncle should be the focus of this day but the confusion of Wednesday is getting in the way.

"I want to have closure but that's our loved one that's passed away from us and y'all presented the wrong body to our family," Dominique said of the Franklin's.

Dominique is already working on acquiring justice in honor of his uncle's memory.

"We're going to talk to the state and see what they have to say about this funeral home and see what we can do to get this license taken away," Dominique told NewsChannel 9.

Tennessee's Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers is responsible for licenses of funeral homes in the state.

Thursday morning, NewsChannel 9 filed a formal request for the record of complaints against John P. Franklin Funeral Home.

The results revealed citations for allowing a license to lapse and one complaint for the condition of a body and casket.

Dominique and his relatives also plan to file a lawsuit against the funeral home.

"We got lawyers meeting with us Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday this week," Dominique said.

After the service on Thursday, John P. Franklin exited the church and called the mix up, "just something that happened, a mistake, unfortunately."

When asked what the funeral home is doing to make things right with the family, Franklin told NewsChannel 9, "we're prayerfully sorry and somebody misunderstood and made a bad move."

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