Rochester, N.Y. --- Christopher Carlsson’s years spent fighting to gain back possession of his father’s remains were finally rewarded on Friday.
Carlsson’s father died in August 2005 and the family thought they had possession of his cremated remains until they received a phone call months later that changed everything. His father’s body parts had been harvested not cremated, and those parts that were recovered remained in the hands of authorities to be used as evidence in criminal cases.
"We had to go through a huge amount of F.D.A. paperwork because nobody had sort of de-acquisitioned body parts before," Carlsson said of the process he undertook following the completion of a criminal trial involving his father’s case in 2009.
The criminal cases were investigated and prosecuted in Rochester, New York City, and Philadelphia at state and federal levels.
Carlsson’s father Harold died at age 78 after a long battle with colon cancer. Today he still holds a document showing which organs were harvested and how it showed his father’s age listed as 64 and cause of death as heart failure.
On Friday morning he took back possession of his father’s remains and photographed them for his own documentation. A local funeral home is now assisting the family with a cremation.
"We can finally hold a service after almost eight years now because people have been asking us when are you going to hold a service, and I said well when we get his body back and now finally we do, so I guess in a way that is a Christmas present,” Carlsson said.
A memorial service may take place in 2013 in his father’s hometown of Ridgeway, Pennsylvania.
***NOTE: Christopher Carlsson adopted an old form of spelling for his family's last name that includes an additional "S" - his father Harold's name contained just one "S" in the spelling of Carlson.