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Family sues funeral home after woman’s body found in garage

The family of a woman whose body was found in a south suburban garage along with three other bodies last year has filed a lawsuit against the funeral home that they say employed the man accused of illegally storing the remains before he died.

After 50-year-old Brigitte Godfrey died of respiratory failure in March 2013, Anton Godfrey told her relatives that he would “take care of things” for $1,800 when they requested cremation services through Living Waters funeral home, according to the suit filed Friday in Cook County Circuit Court. The suit does not specify if Anton Godfrey had any relationship to the family.

The woman’s body was among four found “in various states of decomposition” inside Anton Godfrey’s garage in the 13900 block of South Dearborn in Riverdale on Sept. 9, 2015, eleven days after Anton himself had died, Illinois State Police said. Also discovered in the garage were a box of cremated human remains and a bag of organs that still remain unidentified.

Anton Godfrey, a reverend, had been “the subject of multiple court orders to cease and desist his in-home mortuary practices,” and was fined $10,000 in August 2013 for running an “unlicensed practice of funeral directing and embalming,” according to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

The Cook County medical examiner’s office said at least one of the other bodies in the garage was released to Living Waters, which it said “met all requirements,” authorities said previously. Phone numbers listed online for the funeral home near 81st Street and Cottage Grove were disconnected.

The eight-count negligence suit is seeking an unspecified amount in damages.

Anyone with information on the unidentified remains from the garage is asked to call the state police at (847) 294-4600.

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