SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri couple whose son was stillborn in November said the baby’s body disappeared from the hospital and no one has explained how or why it happened.
Kyle and Brianna Dudley, of Springfield left the body at Cox South Hospital in Springfield after he was stillborn in early November, with hopes that an autopsy and genetic analysis would explain what went wrong, The Springfield News-Leader reported. They named the baby Lucas.
They returned to the hospital about a week later but were told by hospital representatives that the baby was gone, the couple said during an interview Tuesday.
“We were told that the day that Lucas was scheduled for an autopsy, pathology went down there and they saw that Lucas's body wasn't there,” Brianna Dudley said.
The couple said they were shown video of a man in a hoodie who hospital officials believe took their son’s remains from the morgue. Dudley said she could clearly see a bulge in the man’s hoodie wrapped in white that hospital officials believe was their son.
“What purpose do you have of doing that?” she asked. “That’s our child, nobody has the right to do that.”
She said Cox representatives said the man was contracted with the hospital to transfer body parts to other areas but they declined to give the couple his name and said the matter had been referred to law enforcement.
Grant Rahmeyer, an attorney for the Dudleys, said police told him privately that the man in the video denied the accusations and was cooperating with police, and no remains have been found. And he said the hospital’s risk manager suggested the missing remains might have been caused by a “processing issue” but refused to elaborate.
CoxHealth spokeswoman Kaitlyn McConnell confirmed in a statement Tuesday that the baby’s remains are missing and that the case has been turned over to police. She said the hospital is conducting an internal review but that she could not provide more information because of the ongoing police investigation. A Springfield police spokeswoman said she couldn’t comment on an active investigation.
Rahmeyer said he and his clients are still hoping for answers but would file a lawsuit if they don’t get them.
Kyle Dudley said his son’s death and the ensuing confusion is a "nightmare over and over again."
“We were planning on having a cremation for him and a way to honor his life because he was very loved and important to us,” Brianna Dudley said. “And we can’t do that now.”