Bharat Express

Prisoners Die In Alabama’s Jail, Bodies Returned To Families Without Internal Organs; Lawsuit Claims

Late on Wednesday afternoon, the Alabama Department of Corrections received an email from the Associated Press requesting comment.

A federal lawsuit claims that when the remains of two individuals who passed away while housed in Alabama’s jail system were handed to their families, their hearts and other organs were stolen.

In a federal lawsuit filed last month against the Alabama Department of Corrections and other parties, the family of Brandon Clay Dotson, who passed away in a state jail in November, said that when his remains were brought to them, his heart was missing and his body was decaying.

“Absolutely part of a pattern”: Victim’s attorney

The daughter of another deceased prisoner, Charles Edward Singleton, stated in a court filing last week that when her father’s body was returned in 2021, it was devoid of all of his internal parts. Dotson’s family attorney, Lauren Faraino, stated in an email on Wednesday that this is “absolutely part of a pattern” based on the experiences of other families. Late on Wednesday afternoon, the Alabama Department of Corrections received an email from the Associated Press requesting comment.

Family filed lawsuit to get back victim’s lost heart

On November 16, Dotson, 43, was discovered deceased at Ventress Correctional Facility. According to the lawsuit, his family engaged a pathologist to perform a second autopsy because they suspected foul play was involved in his death and found out his heart was missing. His family launched a lawsuit in an attempt to retrieve their lost heart and learn the reason behind its removal. The lawsuit states, “Defendants’ outrageous and inexcusable mishandling of the deceased’s body amounts to a reprehensible violation of human dignity and common decency.” It further added, “their appalling misconduct is nothing short of grave robbery and mutilation.” According to Faraino, Dotson’s family learned that other families had gone through similar things as they were looking for information about what had happened to his heart.

The details of Singleton’s case are referenced in court filings that Dotson’s family submitted last week. According to Charlene Drake, the inmate’s daughter, the funeral home informed her that her father’s body was handed to them “without any internal organs” after he passed away in prison in 2021. According to PTI, she wrote that the funeral director told her that “normally the organs are in a bag placed back in the body after an autopsy, but Charles had been brought to the funeral home with no internal organs.” The court filing was first reported by WBMA.

University of Alabama’s lawyers call it “bald speculation”

Last week, a hearing in the Dotson case was held by a federal court. According to, the hearing produced no conclusive evidence on the location of the heart. The heart may have been kept during a state autopsy to give it to the University of Alabama at Birmingham Medical School for research, according to the lawsuit filed by Dotson’s family. The university’s lawyers called that “bald speculation” and stated in a court document that the university never got any of Dotson’s organs and never conducted the autopsy.

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