LODI, Calif. (KCRA) – A California couple is devastated after they say their baby’s remains were thrown away at a funeral home.
Mari Jo Planas and Everardo Munoz said their daughter, Amiliana-Rose Navarro Romero, was stillborn in June.
Her body was taken to the Cherokee Memorial Funeral Home. The couple told KCRA that Amiliana-Rose’s remains are missing, and they believe her body was thrown away while at the funeral home.
The funeral was supposed to be on Monday.
“I just want her,” Planas said, fighting back tears. “As a mom, you want to protect all your kids, and this is my first daughter, and I couldn’t even have her alive. Now, I couldn’t even have her as a whole.”
The baby’s body has still not been found – and Munoz said he is heartbroken he cannot lay her to rest yet.
“I don’t have her alive. I don’t even have her, like passed away, as her body,” Munoz said. “I don’t have anywhere to go to talk to her, to see her, and that’s the hardest thing is just I have nothing.”
The couple told KCRA they filed a police report with the Lodi Police Department. Late Sunday night, KCRA confirmed with the Lodi Police Department that they have “begun an active investigation into this case.”
Munoz said he wants answers, and he wants the funeral home to be held accountable.
“All we wanted was for her body to be respected and to be treated with care and for her to have her peace, that we could give her at least. And none of that happened at all,” Munoz said.
The Cherokee Memorial Funeral Home told KCRA they are cooperating with police. The funeral home said in a statement:
“Cherokee Memorial is aware of a situation that has arisen with a grieving family we are currently serving. We are working closely with the family to investigate and resolve the issue quickly.”
As the investigation continues, Planas and Munoz are clinging to the memory of their daughter. They keep a box inside their home, filled with everything from the hospital that reminds them of their her – including blankets and food wrappers. They are also holding onto a teddy bear that includes the sound of their baby’s first heartbeat.
“I don’t wish upon this pain for anyone else, because no one should be going through this pain like this,” Planas said.
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