The death of a child is a parent's worst nightmare under any circumstance -- but a lawsuit by Philip Maldonado, whose son Alex died this summer, accuses Boulder's Crist Mortuary of compounding the family's agony.
The complaint states that mortuary employees dropped Alex's casket on the way to a public viewing, and his body fell onto the ground, face first.
As reported by the Boulder Daily Camera, the incident took place on July 8, shortly after Alex's funeral service; the body was being transported back to Crist for a viewing. First, the suit says, the driver of the hearse drove so recklessly that Philip, who was a passenger in the vehicle, had to scream for him to stop at a red light -- a real gaffe, if true, given that Alex reportedly died in a motorcycle crash as a result of someone running a red.
Then, at the funeral home, the casket unloading is said to have gone terribly awry. The suit states:
With Mr. Maldonado watching, one or more of the handlers let go of the casket and dropped it," according to the lawsuit. "The casket went crashing to the cement ground, its lid opened suddenly, and Alex's body tumbled out and fell directly onto its face directly in front of Mr. Maldonado.
The lawsuit asserts that Crist employees initially ran into the building rather than speak to Philip, only later taking care of the body, which allegedly leaked fluids throughout the subsequent viewing.
The depth of the Maldonado family's loss is poignantly displayed by Alex's online memorial, which includes hundreds of photos, as well as this remembrance:
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In Memory Of Alexander Blane Maldonado
Our darling Angel Alexander Blane Maldonado, age 20, was killed as he rode his motorcycle, early in the morning of July 4th, 2010 in Boulder, Colorado. Alex, or "Al"or "Maldo" to his close family and friends, was a graduate of Boulder High School and a successful entrepreneur in the Boulder County area. Alex was an amazing, charismatic and loving young man with many friends and an extremely close family. Alex was born in Amarillo, Texas on December 21st, 1989 and entered into God's loving arms on July 4th, 2010.
Alex is survived by his mother, Lezlie Leier , brother Andrew Maldonado, Lezlie's fiancé Jeff Ogburn of Niwot, Colorado, his father Mark and sister Victoria of Littleton, his grandparents, Clement and Diana Leier of Amarillo, Texas and Grayson and Vickie Maldonado also of Amarillo. Aunts and Uncles; Laura Leier and Kyle Chester of Aurora, Lisa Leier-McHugh and Kevin McHugh of Larkspur and Anthony and Mandy Maldonado of Amarillo. Cousins; Joseph, Jacob and Jarrett Davis, James McHugh, Hannah and Hayden Chester and Jayden Maldonado.
Everyone who knew Alex and mourns his tragic and sudden loss knows that he was an amazing human being and well beyond his chronological years in wisdom and maturity. He loved more than anyone could have known. He gave as much or more than he had. He believed in the power of love, positive intention and most of all believed he could help anybody do anything. Alex lived his brief life fully and without reservation or regret. He was truly an outstanding son, grandson, brother, cousin and friend. The void of his passing will be felt by many, and our family asks for prayers and compassionate understanding in this time of great loss and loving memory. The family will share a full biography of this incredible young man at www.cristmortuary.com. The family will establish a scholarship fund in Alex's name, with details to be forthcoming.
Visitation is Wednesday night, July 7th 5-7pm at Crist Mortuary, 3305 Penrose Place in Boulder. The funeral will be held Thursday, July 8th at 11:00 am at Rocky Mountain Christian Church in Niwot, Colorado.
Crist spokespersons didn't respond to the Camera's interview request.
More from our News archive: "Cremated woman's remains found in garage -- in a Tupperware bowl."