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Funeral home knew something was off when it received decapitated baby

Police have opened an investigation into the baby's death.
Funeral home knew something was off when it received decapitated baby
Posted at 9:43 AM, Aug 14, 2023

A funeral home director in Georgia said he knew something wasn't right when his business received a decapitated baby.

"I just felt a sense of urgency to say, 'Hey listen, this is not right, this is not right. Never seen it before," General Manager of the Willie A. Watkins Funeral Home Sylvania Watkins told local station Atlanta News First.

The hospital initially claimed the baby was dead before delivery. But Watkins found it odd that a baby would come from a hospital in such a state.

"With the body and the head being detached, we should have retrieved this body from the coroner's office. When that did not happen, that's when I said we need to reach out and back up and do it right," Watkins told ANF.

Watkins' first phone call was to the baby's family. 

It became clear to Watkins from a conversation with the infant's grandmother that the family did not know the baby was decapitated. 

"Seeing the pain and the anguish as if like, what really just happened? Your heart goes out to them," he said. 

A lawsuit filed last week by the baby's family also stated that the hospital omitted the information that the baby had been decapitated.

SEE MORE: Couple sues Georgia doctor for decapitating their baby during delivery

The baby's mother, 20-year-old Jessica Ross, suffered complications after going into labor on the morning of July 9. The baby's shoulder was stuck, a condition called shoulder dystocia, the complaint stated. 

Ross continued to push for three hours before a Cesarean section was performed. The baby's body and legs were delivered via C-section, and its head was delivered vaginally. 

The lawsuit accuses Dr. Tracey St. Julian, along with the nurses from Southern Regional Medical Center, a hospital in Riverdale, Georgia, of not promptly performing the necessary C-section. Ross and the baby's father, Treveon Isaiah Taylor, had asked for a C-section earlier.

"When Ms. Ross and Mr. Taylor demanded to see and hold their baby, hospital staff told them that they were not allowed to touch or hold their child. Hospital staff allowed the young couple to only view their dead child. During this viewing, their baby was wrapped tightly in a blanket with his head propped on top of his body in a manner such that those viewing him could not identify that he had been decapitated," a spokesperson for the attorneys representing the couple — Dr. Roderick Edmond, Keith Lindsay, and Cory Lynch — told Scripps News. 

The lawsuit seeks both compensatory and punitive damages. 

The Clayton County Police Department has also opened an investigation into the death of the baby.

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