Law | National

Ute Tribe criticizes funeral home for handling of man's body





The Ute Tribe of Utah criticized a funeral home for its handling of a deceased member whose body was the subject of a dispute within his family.

Hullinger Mortuary has a contract to administer burials for tribal members. Chairwoman Irene Cuch said the company refused to comply with a tribal court order that said Teddy Derk Serawop, 32, was to be released to his common-law wife for a traditional ceremony on the reservation.

"I am shocked and dismayed at the level of disrespect and lack of sensitivity that Hullinger Mortuary has shown to the tribe and Mr. Serawop's family in this case," Cuch said in a press release.

Hullinger Mortuary said it was was holding onto Serawop's remains pending resolution of the dispute. But Serawop's Ute side of the family took the body from the funeral home on Tuesday night after tribal officers showed up with a tribal court order.

Serawop's father is a member of the tribe but his mother is not. His common-law wife is a tribal member.

The funeral home is not within the boundaries of the reservation, according to KSL-TV.

Get the Story:
Family steals son’s body from a Roosevelt funeral home (ABC 4 11/15)
Man's body taken from mortuary in family dispute (KSL-TV 11/14)