Donna Pence (pictured) had part of her ear missing, damage to her toes and burn marks on the left side of her body after she was sent to be embalmed by a funeral home
An Ohio woman’s body was chewed on by rats and burned when it was sent away for embalming, her furious family say.
Donna Pence died of lung cancer in July, and her family hired Lafferty Funeral Home to take care of her body and arrange a service for her funeral.
Unable to afford her burial immediately, they made a down payment to Lafferty that would cover embalming, a funeral and graveside service – but were left reconsidering their choice when they saw Pence after she was embalmed.
Son Tommy Clark-Harp told FOX 19 his mother was presented to the family about 11 days after her death with a chunk missing from her left ear lobe, burns on her left leg, and skin missing from her pinky toe.
‘She was a mess’ Clark-Harp said.
‘The ear definitely looks like something chewed it off, it looks like teeth marks.’
Pence’s family have said they believe an animal could be responsible for her missing flesh.
Pence’s son, Tommy Clark-Harp, says he believes a rat was responsible for some of her injuries, noting the chew marks left behind on his mother’s ear (left) and pinky toe (right)
Pence’s family have said they do not believe she was embalmed properly (pictured is her hand)
‘I honestly think it might have been a rat,’ said Clark-Harp.
‘She also had a bite mark on the neck. It reminded me of when I was a child, I had a gerbil, and it bit me, and that’s the same type of bite that was there and the ear and then the toe.’
The woman who embalmed her body says it was much less sinister.
Chrissa Shelly, who embalmed the body at a third-party facility hired by Lafferty, said during the process, she had tugged multiple times on the woman’s ear to ensure the embalming fluid was being absorbed properly.
Shelly told police at one point she had pulled the lobe off, and suggested it may have been a result of Pence’s chemotherapy treatment.
The distraught family have also alleged burn marks were left on the left side of her body (pictured)
Lafferty has apologized, ‘fixed’ Pence’s wounds and knocked the remaining owing total off the family’s balance. The funeral home has also offered a half-price tombstone, but Price’s family are not satisfied.
They have filed a police report, and the State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors is conducting an inquiry.
‘I want justice for my mother,’ Clark-Harp said. ‘You have a heart and you have love and compassion for someone, you just don’t treat them like garbage.’
Tommy Clark-Harp (pictured), Pence’s son, has said he wants ‘justice’ for his late mother, who he alleges was treated ‘like garbage’