The brother of a deceased man has accused a coroner of ruining his family’s chance to say goodbye to his loved one by leaving his body in a hot van for a whole day instead of keeping it in a freezer.
Basill Peyton says former coroner Raymond Vancleave, who worked for Morgan County, Kentucky, ruined the farewell of his brother, Nathan Peyton, because the stench from his decomposing body made people sick.
“When they buried him, he must have stayed in the body bag. Closed casket,” Basill said KWTX.
“In fact, people got sick from the smell coming from the coffin.”
Basill is currently seeking unspecified damages from Vancleave and six other current and former Morgan County officials for the former coroner’s handling of his brother’s body.
Former Morgan County Coroner Raymond Vancleave is accused of negligently leaving a dead body in his van on a hot day
Vancleave allegedly kept the body of Nathan Peyton (pictured) in a hot van for at least a day
Basill Peyton (pictured) sues Vancleave and six others over negligence allegations
He says that although he found his brother’s body in good condition, it deteriorated once in Raymond’s hands.
The lawsuit claims that “coroner Vancleave was in possession of the body of Nathan Peyton which was located in a sealed black body bag inside (his) SUV” which was parked all day and night of the day “unusually” hot. Nathan died in December. 2022.
The lawsuit also claims Vancleave did not have access to any morgues, freezers or cooling systems at nearby facilities because his privileges were suspended because he failed to remove the bodies in a timely manner.
As a result, Basill’s lawyers claim, Nathan’s body rapidly decomposed, causing a “pungent and putrid” odor to appear from his body.
The body was reportedly in such condition that the Magoffin County Funeral Home was unable to embalm it, and Nathan’s relatives were forced to conduct a closed casket funeral.
“Several pallbearers, visitors and funeral home staff vomited and became ill from the foul and pungent odor coming from Mr. Peyton’s casket,” the lawsuit adds.
Although Basill places most of the blame on Vancleave, he also accuses six other Morgan County officials of being complicit in the incident, saying they should have known about his alleged incompetence.
The lawsuit says other Morgan Country officials should have known about Vancleave’s allegedly “negligent, reckless and reckless” behavior.
“There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about him,” Basill told a local media outlet. Lex18.
“It’s something that will stay with us until the day we die, knowing how he was mistreated.”
“It infuriates me that someone should have known about his actions, if they didn’t know, they should have known.”
“He was my only brother, I loved him more than anything. You just can’t replace a brother.
Don McFarland, a lawyer representing Basill, told MailOnline:
“We are not saying that Mr. Vancleave or any former or current member of the Morgan Tax Court are bad people.” We claim that a mistake was made regarding the disgusting treatment of Nathan Peyton’s corpse.
“This abuse was negligent, reckless and, in my opinion, reckless.” In 2023, no human being should have been treated the same way as Nathan Peyton.
“He should have been treated with respect and honor and his family, especially his brother Basill Peyton, should have been able to say goodbye to their loved one in a dignified manner.
“This entire incident has been a nightmare for the Peyton family and for Basil Peyton, who is a military veteran and is now seeking psychiatric treatment at the VA Medical Hospital due to the trauma.
“We just don’t want any family in Morgan County to go through what the Peyton family had to go through. Please try to imagine how you or any human being would feel if something so deplorable happened to someone you love.
MailOnline has contacted an attorney representing Raymond Vancleave and other Morgan County officials for comment.