Preston County Sheriff's Department sued for negligent mishandling of remains

By Noddy A. Fernandez | Oct 11, 2018

KINGWOOD — The Preston County Commission and sheriff's department are being sued for allegedly mishandling the remains of the plaintiff's father.

Byron Hawthorne filed a complaint in Preston Circuit Court against Preston County Commission and Preston County Sheriff's Department claiming the defendants breached their duty of due care when sheriff's deputies disposed of the cremains of the plaintiff's father.

According to the complaint, Hawthorne misplaced his keychain, which had an urn containing his deceased father's cremains attached. The keys were found and turned over to the sheriff's department. The department returned the keychain to Hawthorne, but the urn was missing and only a small fraction of his father's cremains were returned in a latex glove.

Deputies tested the ashes for narcotics and then discarded the urn and bulk of the cremains in a trash bin when the results came back negative. Hawthorne claims he now suffers from continuing mental anguish as a result, according to court documents.


The plaintiff requests a trial by jury and seeks compensatory damages, pre and post-judgment interest, attorney's fees, costs, expenses incurred, and other relief that a jury deems appropriate. Hawthorne is represented by Matthew P. Crimmel of Matthew P. Crimmel, Attorney at Law PLLC in Morgantown.

Preston Circuit Court Case number 18-C-83

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Matthew P. Crimmel, Attorney at Law PLLC Preston Circuit Court

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