Valencia County funeral home cleared in body mix up

Posted at: 11/01/2012 6:37 PM
Updated at: 11/01/2012 7:03 PM
By: Joe Vigil, KOB Eyewitness News 4; Shaun Griswold, KOB.com

Charles Hines Sr. died in 2009 from a stroke.

Today, his family lost a legal battle with the funeral home that accepted the wrong body from a medical donor service in 2010.

On Thursday, an Albuquerque District Court jury cleared a funeral home director of misconduct after he received the wrong remains from Bio Care Southwest..

The funeral home director in Belen, Robert Noblin Jr., was cleared of any wrongdoing in the lawsuit that alleged he was at fault for the mix up.

"We're pleased that the jury saw that the funeral home really conducted itself in a manner in accordance with the law," Noblin said.

The funeral home worked with Bio Care, which sold harvested organs to medical research companies and sent cremated remains to families.

While his family spread the ashes they thought belong to their 83-year-old father, Bio Care sent Hines' remains to a medical waste incineration company in Kansas.

The family eventually recovered the right body.

Other bodies were also improperly sent by Bio Care to the incineration company.

Bio Care owner Paul Montano was arrested in 2010, but he has not been prosecuted with any charges, and the company folded.

Families are without much recourse for help.

"I think the jury felt that Bio Care was the main culprit," Chuck Hines Jr. said. "And having my father someplace else than what we received in the first place and I think that's the way they voted."