POLITICS

Dead Marine's Parents Shocked After Son's Body Returned Without Heart

12/11/2013 03:41 pm ET | Updated Dec 13, 2013

The parents of Sgt. Brian LaLoup are suing the Defense Department and the Navy, alleging that officials in Greece removed their son's heart during an illegal autopsy, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. They are also reportedly considering action against government entities in Greece.

Craig and Beverly LaLoup are alleging negligence and mistreatment of their son's remains, saying his "heart was stolen and illegally harvested by the Greek government." Aaron Freiwald, a lawyer for the family, said the couple is accusing the U.S. military of allowing Sgt. LaLoup's heartless body to be buried without giving them any notification the organ was missing.

LaLoup committed suicide last year while stationed in Athens, Greece.

Brian was taken to an Athens hospital and pronounced dead. The family says his body was left unguarded and because of that, the body was moved to a Greek morgue where, several days later, an illegal autopsy was performed. It was during that autopsy that Brian’s heart was removed, according to the complaint.

The sergeant’s body was flown back to the United States and upon arrival at Dover Air Force Base, a second autopsy was performed. The LaLoups say that’s when officials realized the heart was gone. However, the family claims they were never told their son’s heart was gone until after he was buried.

According to the Inquirer, a military official "accidentally" let it slip that Sgt. LaLoup's heart had been removed when his parents were being told that parts of their son's scalp were missing.

"I was absolutely devastated," Beverly LaLoup said, according to ABC 10 News. "I was hysterical. I was running around the house, hyperventilating."

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