My son deserves a proper burial! ...Elderly mother wants to exhume child's body

June 08, 2016
Ian Allen/Photographer Delpha James, mother of Patrick Samms who who killed in a hit and run accident, and buried in a pauper's grave without family consent.

A mother who found out her first child had died almost a year after his death is now pleading to get the body of her son in order to give him a proper burial.

A distraught Delpha James, 77, is now in mourning after finding out last week that her son, Patrick Samms, was killed in June last year in a hit-and-run accident, and was buried by the Government in October.

According to James, not seeing her son for extended periods was not unusual because he would sometimes disappear for up to a year.

A dream from her other son, Jeffery James, is what alerted the family to the absence of their family member.

"Me dream see Patrick, and him a say, 'look how me missing and yuh nuh come look fi me'," he told THE STAR.

Jeffery James said he immediately went to the area where his brother, who was a street sweeper, worked at.

"When I went to Boulevard, I saw another guy a sweep and asked for Patrick, he said the bredda weh used to work here dead from last year," said the younger brother, Jeffery.

A shocked Jeffery said he then went to the National Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) to find out what happened, but the agency directed him to the Constant Spring Police Station.

"When I went there, I nearly drop down when I heard that Patrick had been buried from last year," Jeffery said.

The family is now trying to come to grips with the fact that their family member has been dead for almost a year without them being notified by the police.

"I feel like my son got buried like a dog, no family to mourn him properly," the mother of six, Delpha James, said.

former employer

But she believes more could have been done to inform the family of her son's death, as she said his former employer has called her home on previous occasions to contact her deceased son.

"I don't think anyone tried to reach the family because they could get us before so why not try now," she said.

James said she is now seeking to exhume the body of her son from the May Pen Cemetery in order to have funeral for him.

"I can't sleep peacefully thinking my son dead and nuh get a decent burial because he has family who would like to mourn him properly," she said, describing the deceased as quiet and reserved.

According to a member of the police's communication arm, the Corporate Communications Unit, the burial of a person who has died can take place between 30 and 45 days after their death.

"Once the police have cleared up the case and information is disseminated then the person will be buried," said the officer.

Acting Town Clerk, Nordia Crosskill, of the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporations, said it was not the responsibility of the parish council to seek out the family to advise them of the deceased's passing.

"When you have a public servant, if you have not turned up for work after five days, then it's assumed you have abandoned the job and a letter is sent to you," she said.

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