A St. Louis mother said a funeral director refused to let her see her 9-month-old baby boy's body after he died in a house fire last month, KTLA sister station KTVI reported.
"These weeks have been the worst weeks of my life since I lost my son," Dashia Martin said.
Martin is grieving the death of her baby boy, Dashawn, who was killed in a house fire in St. Louis on Oct. 26.
The devastated mother told KTVI she left her little boy with her cousin that night so that she could get an early start searching for a new apartment in the morning.
It was the first time she left his side, she said.
“His first time leaving, and he never came back,” Martin told the St. Louis-area television station. “So ... I do blame myself sometimes. If I was there I would have saved my baby. My baby would still be here."
Her cousin's apartment building erupted in flames while the little boy was inside. Fire officials said six adults and two other small children were in the house when the blaze broke out. Many of the victims had to be rescued and were taken to the hospital in critical condition.
Officials at the time told KTVI that Dashawn's body was found on the second floor; he was burned so badly a DNA test was needed to identify him.
As Martin prepares for the funeral, she said she still hasn't seen her baby's body.
“That's the most heartbreaking thing I ever heard, is tell me I can't see my child,” she said.
The funeral director, Ronald L. Jones, said he made that choice because he's protecting Martin from psychological trauma and himself from a possible lawsuit.
“The question is, what will she see? She won't see nothing that looks like her baby,” Ronald L. Jones with Ronald L. Jones Funeral Chapels said.
“She could have a heart attack, she could have some emotional trauma behind seeing it, and then who's liable?” he questioned.
No matter how horrific it might be, Martin feels seeing her son will ease the pain and guilt she feels in her heart -- and offer some kind of closure.
The family also feels left in the dark by the whole investigation, saying their questions aren't being answered and their phone calls aren’t being returned.
They are asking for help for a proper burial for Dashawn. The family has set up a GoFundMe page to raise $3,000.
Ronald L. Jones Funeral Chapels says it will also accept donations made out to Dashawn Martin.