A grieving St. Louis mother says a funeral director refused to let her see the body of her 9-month-old baby after he died in a house fire.
Dashawn, 9 months old, was killed in a house fire Oct. 26 while he was being watched for the night by a relative.
“He was a happy-go-lucky, bubbly child,” said his maternal grandmother, Dionne Warren, 44, of Ferguson. “And he loved, loved, loved his mother.”
Dashawn was burned so badly in the fire at 5150 Cates Avenue that his mother, Dashia Martin, had to provide a DNA sample to positively identify the remains, Warren said. That identification was made only last week.
The family held a closed-casket funeral service Monday at Ronald Jones Funeral Home. The family has set up a GoFundMe site to raise money for the funeral and burial.
Four adults and three children were in the home when fire broke out about 3:30 a.m. One man told the Post-Dispatch he helped rescue his wife, who wasn’t seriously hurt, and a child who suffered smoke inhalation but was stopped from going back in by smoke and flames.
The two other adults got out but were critically injured. Firefighters arrived and rushed inside as they were told children remained inside.
They carried out a 3-year-old boy who was sickened by the smoke. They then found Dashawn dead on the second floor. The infant apparently died in the flames, Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson said.
The fire was contained to the large room on the second floor where Dashawn was found dead, Jenkerson said. Authorities say the fire appears accidental.
Some of the adults inside suspect the fire was electrical because the lights wouldn’t work during the fire.
Breanna Hubbard, 20, and her boyfriend, 26, were the two adults hospitalized in critical condition after the fire. Her sons Brieon and Brayshawn Warren suffered smoke inhalation, with Brieon in critical condition.
Hubbard was the relative who was baby-sitting Dashawn. She was on a ventilator for many days after the fire, according to Dionne Warren, Hubbard’s aunt.
Dashawn’s mother was devastated by her son’s death.
“She’s trying to hold on as much as possible,” Warren said of her daughter.
As Martin gets ready for the funeral she tells Fox 2 News the funeral director will not let her see the boy’s body, “That’s the most heartbreaking thing I ever heard is tell me I can’t see my child.” But the funeral director, Ronald L. Jones, says he is doing it to protect her since the baby was burned so badly in the fire. He does not want the image of her baby to haunt or scar her for life.