Another family files lawsuit in funeral home case

Nov. 17—JEFFERSONVILLE — Another family has filed a civil lawsuit against Randy Lankford, owner of Lankford Funeral Home and Family Center, and alleges he gave them some cremated remains, despite never cremating their loved one.

This filing alleges Lankford told the family of Robert Whitfield he had cremated the man's remains, only for authorities to tell the family his remains weren't cremated after the July raid on the funeral home found his body.

According to the filing, Whitfield's family contacted Lankford about the status of their funeral services. The 60-year-old man from Louisville died in March and his family hired Lankford for after-life services.

"Robert's family contacted the Defendant, Randy Lankford (hereinafter "Lankford"), by both phone calls and text messages requesting an explanation as to where and what was taking place relative to the funeral services for their loved one," the lawsuit states. "Lankford misrepresented that their loved one's remains had been cremated. The Funeral Home's action was so egregious that it released to Robert's family materials that the Funeral Home claimed to be Robert. This was totally false. To this day it is unknown if Robert's family received another decedent's remains or non-human remains."

According to the filing, when police raided Lankford's funeral home in July, they found Whitfield's body, meaning he hadn't been cremated.

"Robert's body was among the neglected corpses," the filing said.

It also said Whitfield's loved ones then had to provide DNA to identify the man.

They're suing for Negligence, Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Fraud, Breach of Contract, Common Law Mutilation or Desecration of a Dead Body, Civil Conspiracy and Punitive Damages.

The Flynn Firm LLC out of Indianapolis is representing the plaintiffs.

A number of other families are suing Lankford in civil court and a hearing on a motion for a change of venue has been set for 3:30 p.m. on Nov. 22 in Clark Superior Court No. 6. This motion asks to move these cases to Scott County, due to media coverage.

Lankford is currently in the Clark County jail facing felony and criminal theft charges connected to the remains of loved ones belonging to three separate families. He is facing a $5,000 cash-only bail.

This comes after police in July found 31 bodies in various states of decomposition, and the cremated remains of 17 people at the funeral home at 3106 Middle Road.

Clark County Prosecutor Jeremy Mull said more criminal charges are on the way.