Family upset with coroner for storing body in the basement

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FLEMING COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - Just one day after laying his mother, Tiline Tackett, to rest, Dave Brown said he's still feeling the pain of the loss.

"I never got to see my mom's face. I never got to say goodbye," he said.

Brown said Tackett passed away Saturday night and his step-father found her on the floor of their house. While he was not there, Brown said his daughter spent the final hours of Tackett's life with her.

"My daughter noticed she wasn't all there," recalled Brown.

The Fleming County coroner came to the house offering to take Tackett's body until the family could decide on a funeral home in the morning, they solidified the arrangements by noon the next day.

"I thought they were going to get back with me in a shorter period of time than what they did," explained Gary Workman.

So he stored Tackett's body the only way he knew how, "Ms. Tackett was kept in the basement of the funeral home which is the coolest spot that I have."

"I don't believe setting it in a basement for 12 hours is proper," reacted an emotional Brown, "I'm sorry. I don't think it's proper procedure for anybody."

"The county just doesn't have the funds to have a refrigerator to keep bodies," added Workman.

WKYT spoke with the President of the Kentucky Coroner's Association, who said it's fairly common for smaller county coroners to have to improvise in this way.

"This pretty much is my basic procedure. I've done it in the past and I will probably do it again," stated Workman.

The problem is by the time the family chose Northcutt and Son Funeral Home they said they got some troubling news.

"They (the funeral home) had told me that they could try and embalm her but it probably would do no good," described Brown.

"I've been a funeral director for 30 years and I don't think so," said Workman.

"She had to be cremated because her body was too decomposed to embalm," added Brown.

Still, Brown feels that had he known this would be the way things would've been different.

"We would've had a different burial and I would've been able to see my mother one last time."

The cause of death has not been determined, but the coroner says he is waiting for blood results to be returned from the lab.

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