A Cleveland man packed up an urn with his mother's cremated remains and headed to Puerto Rico to spread her ashes as she had requested. But when he arrived and unzipped his bag, he discovered a TSA inspection notice and his mother's ashes spilled all over his suitcase.
The horrific incident is documented in a lawsuit filed in Cleveland's federal court today, where Shannon Thomas is suing the Transportation Security Administration and unnamed TSA agents for what happened.
The incident occurred nearly two years ago when Thomas packed his bag with a "very heavy and sturdy" urn with a tightly screwed on top that held held his mother's ashes, and padded it in his bag "with his clothing to attempt to protect it." He checked it at Cleveland Hopkins, got a connecting flight in Washington D.C., and arrived in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The plan was to "spread his mother's remains in the Caribbean Sea, as she had requested prior to passing away."
In San Juan, he noticed the TSA had inspected his bag along the way and that the ashes were spilled all throughout his suitcase. The TSA "Negligently, carelessly, and recklessly replaced the lid of the urn, placed a bag inspection notice in Plaintiff's suitcase and sent the bag on its way. This action caused the urn to open and spilled the remains of Plaintiff's mother on the inside of Plaintiff's suitcase and on Plaintiff's personal effects."
In the two years since it happened, Thomas says "No person speaking on behalf of the United States or TSA has ever issued an apology, explanation, or notification to [Thomas] aside from the bag search notice."
Read the suit here: