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Suit: Man’s body misplaced at Cook County morgue

Updated: June 29, 2012 10:49AM

Family members of a man whose body was allegedly lost at the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office are suing the county and the hospital where he died.

Thirteen of Brian K. Warren’s relatives claim they called the medical examiner’s office multiple times over a 10-day period to check if Warren’s body had been recovered after he disappeared in December 2011, according to the suit filed Thursday in Cook County Circuit Court. His body was there, but the employees at the morgue claimed they had no body that could be Warren’s, the suit claims.

The relatives claim they did not know where Warren was after December 28, 2011. On December 29, he was taken in an ambulance to Saint Bernard Hospital, where he died in the emergency room -- but his family was never notified, according to the suit.

The suit claims Warren had identification on him at the time of his death that included information about his next of kin, but neither the hospital nor the medical examiner’s office contacted them.

According to the suit, because the family was not told of Warren’s death, they filed a missing person’s report with police and canvassed the streets looking for him.

Each time the family called the medical examiner’s office, they were told that Warren’s body was not present, that all the unknown bodies had been identified and that if they did not have a case number they would not be able to get further information, according to the suit.

The suit further claims that because of the allegations revealed in January 2012 that the medical examiner’s office misplaced and mishandled bodies, there is evidence that Warren’s body was among those mistreated.

The seven-count suit claims damages related to the morgue and hospital’s intentional infliction of distress and interference with the family’s recovery of the body. In addition to compensation, the suit seeks more than $3 million in punitive damages.

Spokespeople for Saint Bernard Hospital and Cook County could not be reached for comment Thursday night.

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