OAN Brooke Mallory
UPDATED 5:53 PM – Monday, April 24, 2023
A widow claimed in a federal lawsuit filed in Florida last week that a cruise line stored the body of her husband who passed away onboard in a beverage cooler for several days, causing the man’s deceased body to turn green and decompose.
The body was discovered “in advanced stages of decomposition” and “in a bag on a palette on the floor of the cooler,” according to the lawsuit.
Robert Jones passed away on August 15th last year after having a heart attack on the cruise while traveling to the Caribbean aboard the Celebrity Equinox.
His widow, Marilyn Jones, was allegedly informed by ship crew members that she could either transport the body to San Juan, Puerto Rico, for burial, or they could keep it in the functioning onboard morgue until they arrived back in Florida.
According to Jones’ complaint, staff members informed her that there was only a 50% possibility the body would be autopsied in San Juan and that she would have to wait there by herself while it was done.
She ultimately decided to have the body stored on the ship.
However, a sheriff’s office deputy and funeral home employee discovered Robert Jones’s body had been placed in a bag on a pallet on the floor of a beverage cooler when the ship arrived back in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on August 21st.
Funeral directors were unable to save enough of the body for an open casket funeral because the chamber was not cold enough to stop the body from rotting. According to the lawsuit, the ship’s essential operating morgue was also not even operational at the time.
Marilyn Jones is now suing Celebrity Cruises for $1 million in damages, along with her daughters and three grandkids supporting her.
Regarding “the sensitivity of the alleged facts and out of respect for the family,” Celebrity Cruises declined to comment.
“The actions and omissions of Celebrity and its crew have tortiously interfered with the body of Robert Jones and with plaintiffs’ last memories of Jones, which has caused extreme trauma by visualizing Mr. Jones’s body horrifically decomposed, and knowing their husband and father was callously and casually left in a beverage cooler, stripping him of his dignity in the sacred time just after his passing,” the suit states.
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