Texas widow sues funeral home after finding husband's second grave

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by TERESA WOODARD

WFAA

Posted on February 7, 2013 at 10:14 AM

Updated Thursday, Dec 5 at 11:34 AM

DALLAS — Just when Shelia Stanmore thought she was finding peace with her husband's death, that peace was shattered.

"I felt like he died all over again... like we'd lost him all over again," she said.

For the first year after her husband's death, she visited his grave each day.  It brought comfort. 

"I thought he was OK.  I thought he was complete," she said. 

Now she's not so sure. 

Kevin Stanmore died in May, 2008.  He was shot by a Grand Prairie police officer after a standoff.

Kevin's brother runs Stanmore Funeral Homes in East Texas. Shelia said he offered to prepare her husband's body for burial. 

"And I didn't have any worries that he would take care of him," Shelia said.

Kevin was buried in a cemetery in Dallas so she and her daughters could visit, she said.

In July 2012, Shelia attended her mother-in-law's funeral in Kevin's hometown, three hours east.  On the family farm, she discovered a small plaque with her husband's name. Other family members told her it marked the spot where her husband's organs were buried. 

"I screamed," she said. "I cried, and I took it out of the ground.  I became very angry."

Shelia Stanmore  is now suing Stanmore Funeral Home, claiming they removed the organs from Kevin's body without her knowledge or consent, and returned to her a "hollow corpse."

"I feel like his body was desecrated," she said, "and he didn't deserve that.  He was a beautiful man and didn't deserve that."

Sheila's attorney, Michael Manktelow, has also filed a formal complaint with the Texas Funeral Services Commission.  That agency is now investigating. 

"It's our understanding right now that the defendant is not denying the basic facts asserted in this lawsuit," Manktelow said.

When reached via phone, the director of Stanmore Funeral Home said he had no comment on the lawsuit or the allegations.

E-mail twoodard@wfaa.com

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