Funeral home mishandled former Saints player’s brain after death in police custody, attorneys say
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The family of former New Orleans Saints defensive end Glenn Foster, Jr., who died in police custody en route to a hospital last year, says a funeral home mishandled the brain of their loved one, preventing them from testing it for CTE.
Nationally renowned civil rights attorney Ben Crump is expected to file a lawsuit in Orleans Parish Civil District Court on Thurs., Dec. 8, claiming Jacob Schoen and Son Funeral Home improperly handled Foster’s body postmortem, failing to preserve his brain “in a manner which it could be properly examined” and destroyed Foster’s brain without notifying and against the will of the family.
The lawsuit claims funeral director John Appel Jr. was negligent in embalming and preserving Foster’s body, as well as storing, handling, disposing, and destroying Foster’s remains. The lawsuit also accuses Appel of negligent hiring and supervision.
On Dec. 6, 2021, Foster was found dead in a police cruiser upon arrival at an Alabama medical facility shortly after attacking another inmate over a pair of socks.
Foster’s parents believe he was suffering from a manic episode in the days leading up to, during, and following his arrest.
Arrest reports show Foster was taken into custody on suspicion of simple assault and third-degree robbery the day before he died.
According to his family, Foster has a history of mental health challenges and they planned on having his brain tested for the progressive brain condition CTE, found in some professional football players, believed to be caused by repeated blows to the head and repeated concussions. The disease has been found in upwards of 300 former NFL players.
Experts say CTE results in a progressive decline of memory and cognition, as well as depression, poor impulse control, aggressiveness, suicidal behavior, and eventually dementia.
“There is no reason why he was alive in police custody and sixteen minutes later he was dead. We will not rest until we get answers and justice,” Crump said.
CTE was found in former footballers Junior Seau, Andre Waters, and Dave Duerson, who all died by suicide, as well as Jovan Belcher, a linebacker who killed his girlfriend before shooting himself, Phillip Adams, who shot and killed six people before taking his own life, and Aaron Hernandez, who died from suicide after being convicted of murder.
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