A mum has spoken of her heartbreak after her toddler daughter's body was left to decompose by a funeral director.
Two-year-old Ranasia Knight died after an alleged attack by her mum's ex-boyfriend. Her mother, Jessica Bachman, thought her daughter had sustained her injuries after falling down stairs, but two days after little Ranasia passed away in a hospital's emergency room, Jessica's ex, Lester Johnson, admitted to punching and kicking her.
Lancaster Online reports that Jessica's grief was further compounded when police informed her this month that Ranasia's badly decomposed body had been discovered on a table in the basement of the Gundel Funeral Home in Lancaster, Pennsylvania - some three weeks after her death.
A family friend had paid the funeral director, Benjamin M. Siar Jr, $400 for Ranasia's funeral, including a cremation. Mr Siar had reportedly promised to carry out the arrangements and deliver Ranasia's ashes to her mum. Instead, it would appear that the child's body was left to rot with three other corpses.
Jessica told reporters that when she contacted Mr Siar to find out what was happening with the funeral, he refused to pick up her calls and made excuses for delays.
"This man knew all the stuff I'm going through. It's bad enough that I had to lose my daughter to a murder. This man came to my house. This man told me my daughter was in good hands," the devastated mum said.
Another funeral home stepped in and carried out Ranasia's funeral at no charge. They organised her cremation, and returned her ashes to Jessica, who now wears some of them in a locket necklace.
The Daily Mail reports that police found three other bodies at Siar's premises. Rosa Kleinhaus, 76, who had died on December 20, M. Elizabeth Zug, 97, who died December 26 and Sandra J Hotchkiss, 71, who died January 21 were also in a decomposing state in his basement.
Mr Siar, 41, is now in Lancaster County Prison after turning himself into the police. He is facing charges including abuse of a corpse and theft by deception. He said he will 'fully take responsibility' for anything he has done wrong, but blamed the delayed funerals on hold ups from the local coroner's office.
Friends of Jessica have now set up a 'RIP Ranasia' Facebook tribute site for the little girl.