Teens Spot Dead Friend's Brain on Mortuary Field Trip, Parents Sue

Sheri Reed

microscopeThis is one of those crazy "believe it or not" news stories.

Turns out, the classmates of Jesse Shipley, a 17-year-old boy who was killed in a car accident in 2005, spotted his brain floating in a jar of formaldehyde while on a forensic science club field trip at the Staten Island Mortuary two months after his death. The jar was apparently in a cabinet but was labeled clearly with Jesse's name.

Obviously, emotional mayhem ensued and the turmoil spread to the Shipley family, who have just recently filed suit against the City of New York's medical examiner.

Word traveled quickly back at Port Richmond High School to Jesse's younger sister Shannon, then 15, who was a victim in the same car accident that killed her older brother. Her parents were called to pick her up from school because she was so upset.

I would be, too!

Now Jesse and Shannon's parents Andrew and Korisha Shipley are suing the medical examiner for emotional distress. Five years after the fact, Justice William F. Mastro has determined that the family should have been told that their son's brain was being retained for later study. Yes, such a simple thing.

The family was, instead, under the assumption that their son's body was intact at burial.

The fact that Jesse was buried without his brain was especially traumatic for the Shipleys since a priest told them that burial was not proper unless he was buried 'whole.' So the family had Jesse's body disinterred and endured a second funeral service for the boy.

What do you make of this crazy coincidence and error on the medical examiner's part?


Image via xmatt/Flickr


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