MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A South Florida family from West Palm Beach has filed a lawsuit against a funeral home claiming one of their employees took a photo of their dead daughter which ended up on social media.

The lawsuit contends a funeral home staffer from Stevens Brothers Funeral Home took a photo of Jakiel Allyson Jones’ disfigured body and released it to non-family members which then ended up on social media.

Jakiel Jones was killed in a tragic crash on I-95 near Lantana in January.

“This case is about accountability, the funeral home was negligent, and they did not protect this family’s right to privacy during a very difficult time in their lives,” said attorney Nicole Hunt Jackson.

Deanna Washington, Jakiel’s mom, was stunned when she got a call on the day of burial saying that a picture of the disfigured body was posted online. The crash that killed Jakiel was so violent, the service had to be closed casket.

“When I looked at the photo I saw that it was taken in the prep room at the funeral home. My baby partially clothed on a mortuary slab, with her hair pulled back. Her body had not been prepped for us or anyone else to view.”

Jakiel’s father was crushed when Deanna called him.

“I couldn’t believe it. I kept asking her, repeat again, just repeat it again. And I’m just saying you’ve gotta be kidding me. Inside it was just like taken away from me again,” said Jessie Jones, Jakiel’s dad.

“It was hard enough to come to terms with my baby’s death, then I get a call telling me a picture of her dead body was posted on social media. Only the funeral home had access to my daughter’s body, said Washington.

“We hired this funeral home to help us, in our hour of need, instead they took our pain and made it even worse,” said Jessie Jones, Jakiel’s father.

“An employee at that funeral home made a conscious choice to take a picture of their daughter and send it to a non-family member who in turn posted it on social media,” said Jackson.

The funeral home told us they would release a statement at a later date, but the woman who answered the phone told us, “Let us try to deal with it in a legal way. We want to deal with the family, not the news.”

Meanwhile, Jakiel’s parents want answers.

“I couldn’t see who could stand over a dead person’s body and take a picture of them, to do wrong with that. Nothing good. You took my daughter’s picture and did wrong with it,” said Jakie’s mom.

Ted Scouten

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