Wrong Baby Cremated In Mix-Up

The body of a 14-month-old Ohio boy was cremated by mistake in a morgue mix-up, leaving distraught family members critical of the coroner, who has apologized, placed an employee on leave and began making procedural changes.

An initial review indicated the body of Jaylen Talley was released to the wrong funeral home because a forensic technician did not follow proper procedures, which include opening the body bag, looking at the body and matching up paperwork with toe and ankle tags, Franklin County Coroner Jan Gorniak said.

The cause of death is still pending for Jaylen, whose family said he died May 18 after suffering breathing difficulties since birth. The body was picked up from the morgue the following day and cremated in place of a dead 22-day-old boy whose family wanted cremation.

Gorniak learned of the mistake Sunday after her office called to find out when the funeral home would be picking up the body of the younger child and was told it had already done so.

Jaylen's relatives had been planning to bury him in a tiny white tuxedo. The coroner went to their home to explain what had happened.

"I cannot imagine what this family is going through," Gorniak told WBNS-TV, her voice choking with emotion. "Sorry doesn't cover it at all, and obviously I'm deeply sorry. I offered them my condolences. But I know that's not enough."

Family members expressed shock and demanded that the coroner change the way her office handles things.

"They really just hurt my son. They really just put him in some fire and burned my son," Jaylen's mother, Jamere Sydnor, told WSYX-TV, tears rolling down her cheeks. "It's like he got killed twice."

The coroner said she put the forensic technician on paid leave pending the results of an investigation. The coroner's office on Tuesday implemented a new requirement that bodies be photographed as they are discharged, to help ensure that the body bags are opened and their contents checked, Gorniak said.

Dan Pallay, the owner of the funeral home that cremated Taylen, said members of his staff were unaware that the body was that of an older child and not a 22-day-old infant because they did not open the bag out of respect for the deceased.

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  • by Anonymous on May 31, 2010 at 01:27 PM
    praying for this family I lost a child would have killed if this would have happen. Sorry you have to go through this.
  • by Anonymous on May 28, 2010 at 11:40 AM
    Maybe they can give them a free stone for the child and something for a memorial. Money shouldn't be the case because it will not help anything.
  • by Dixiegirl929 Location: Tarboro on May 27, 2010 at 11:07 AM
    This is horrible for the family. My thoughts are with them.
  • by LILLY on May 26, 2010 at 09:19 PM
    To Me: If this was your child you would feel different. The last thing we can do for our child is to have a funeral to say good-bye. To have someone talk about his short life. This was taken away from this family. They didn't get to see him dressed like they wanted, their memories are of hospital tubes and machines. That last moment is seared in your heart forever, I know because I also had a child that died. And being able to hold her hand and kiss her good-bye is what has kept me sane. This baby may have already been dead, but the parents haven't had their time to say good-bye, and now they will never have that closure. So if you haven't been there then don't assume you know how they feel. So with that said if I were the judge, I would give them some kind of compensation, this doesn't have to be about money.
  • by red Location: southern pitt county on May 26, 2010 at 08:00 PM
    Why is the idiot that didn't follow the proper proceedure given a PAID leave following an investigation? Man, what a disaster in the making!!
  • by to me on May 26, 2010 at 06:02 PM
    not if I was the judge
  • by me Location: enc on May 26, 2010 at 03:37 PM
    A million bucks or so for emotional distress from the county should help!
  • by Anonymous on May 26, 2010 at 02:02 PM
    She needs to calm down, the end result is not changing whether this happened or not. It is bad I agree, but the baby was dead already
  • by Alison Location: Havelock on May 26, 2010 at 01:59 PM
    My thoughts and prayers go out to both families. After I lost my baby we had him buried. Now I wish I had cremated him. She has every right to say what she said. She may feel differently a few months from now. He will always be in her heart no matter how he is buried.
  • by AP Location: NC on May 26, 2010 at 12:07 PM
    This is really a sad situation BUT what stands out to me the most when I read the article is what the mother said "it's like he was killed twice" The cause of death is still unknown, looks like she would of said "it's like he died twice". It just stood out when I read the article....maybe nothing to it, just makes me wonder what she knows. So sorry for the loss of the child.
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