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NILES City settles lawsuit over lost remains



Published: Wed, April 10, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The 17-year-old died accidentally in 1976 while the family was living in Spain.

By DENISE DICK

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- Niles has agreed to pay nearly $200,000 to a former Warren resident whose son's remains are missing.

Betty Mays sued Niles and Reese-Wynn-Winyard-McDermott Funeral Home in 2000 in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court, contending negligence and seeking unspecified damages.

The ashes of her son, Jody, were found to be missing in 1998 when Mays asked the city-owned Union Cemetery to ship them to her new home in Donna, Texas.

The crypt was opened and a cemetery worker found a coffin with a skeleton. It was not Jody, who was 17 when he died accidentally in October 1976 in Spain, where his family lived at the time. .

Trial began: The trial started Monday before Magistrate Anthony Cornicelli. Atty. Brendan J. Keating, who represents Mays, said a settlement was reached Tuesday.

The city agreed to pay $198,000 and the funeral home will pay $2,000, Keating said.

J. Terrence Dull, Niles law director, said the money would come from a combination of the city's insurance and the general fund. The general fund will cover $99,000 of the settlement.

"It just seemed to be the best thing to do for the city in getting it resolved," he said.

Keating said his client is holding up fairly well.

"She realizes that her son's remains will probably never be recovered and the finality of it all has had an effect on her, but she'll be all right," he said. "Betty Mays is a tough lady."




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