EWARTON, St Catherine — A bereaved family is fuming, the police have had to intervene, and a young funeral director has egg on his face after the wrong image emblazoned on a casket reportedly derailed last Friday's burial of a man killed in a mob attack two months ago.
The yet-to-be-buried man is 20-year-old David “Victor” Walker, from Clarke's Avenue in Ewarton, St Catherine.
Police reports are that residents chopped Walker to death on May 4 at Pedro River in St Ann as he and his cronies tried to escape after allegedly stealing goats in the neighbouring parish of Clarendon.
Last Friday, Walker's burial pulled a number of people to Ewarton Cemetery but when it became clear, at sundown, that the body would not be brought to the location for burial, chaos erupted.
According to members of the bereaved family, during attempts to ascertain the location of Walker's body, calls to the funeral director's phone suddenly started going to voicemail. Rumours began circulating that the body was missing. The family is now satisfied that those rumours were unfounded.
“The family is traumatised now and therefore we are trying to cope,” a spokesperson told the Jamaica Observer on Monday. “I am trying to get some answers from the police about [why the funeral director did not show up with the body].”
The funeral director, Chavin Thompson, told the Observer that the police contacted him on Saturday as part of their investigation into the matter.
He explained that he did not show up for the burial because he realised relatively late that the casket prepared for Walker had another person's image emblazoned on it.
“It is not the family's fault [why the burial was not held]; it is my fault and the 'casket man' fault... I just never know how to explain it to the family members [on the day of the burial],” said Thompson.
He indicated that he was less than forthright with the family on the date set for interment.
“Whenever the relatives called me I keep telling them I was on my way [with the body] because I was trying to get things done as fast as possible... I am now working on the apology to let them know,” Thompson explained.
He added that he had collected $150,000 for services provided to the family.
He also claimed that his relatives in the Linstead area of St Catherine have been receiving death threats because Walker was not buried on the scheduled date.
“My family is threatened... It is not their fault; it is my fault,” said the 29-year-old Thompson, who said he has been in the funeral business for seven years.