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Foley family sues after getting wrong cremains

KNOXVILLE (AP) — An Alabama family has filed a federal lawsuit claiming that a Maryville, Tenn., cremation company mixed up the identification of the remains of three people.

The family of Mark Gibson, who live in Foley, seek $500,000 in damages in a federal lawsuit against Littlebrook Cremation Co. and owner Wallace Thurman.

Gibson lived in Clinton, Tenn., about 18 miles northwest of Knoxville, when he died April 29. The lawsuit filed last month claims the family received remains with an identification tag of another man, Keith Vincent.

Ashes identified

Dr. William Bass, a forensic anthropologist at the University of Tennessee, confirmed that the cremains sent to the Gibsons were those of Vincent, whose remains were initially believed to be at the Tennessee Veterans Cemetery.

Third party found

When the cremains were disinterred from the veterans cemetery, it was discovered those were the remains of a third person, Betty June Reid.

Gibsonís cremains were found still in the possession of Littlebrook, according to Bass.

Doug Trant, attorney for the Gibson family, said the cremains for all three individuals have been returned to their proper places.

The lawsuit doesnít explain how the mix up occurred, and attorney Carl P. McDonald, who represents the cremation company, declined to comment.

Littlebrook Cremation has been licensed since 1988 and has never had a complaint filed against it, according to records from the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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