Family accuses funeral home of trimming dad’s dreadlocks

January 13, 2020

A widow Jennifer Johnson is complaining that a funeral home in St Ann cut off the dreadlocks of her husband Errol Johnson, which he had grown for nearly 40 years.

Johnson, a US citizen, said she met Errol on one of her trips to Jamaica and they fell in love. Years later, they married and had two children.

While not a Rastafarian herself, she admitted that the house was governed by the rules of that religion.

She said in a society where Rastafarianism was born, she is shocked to know that people would violate her husband in this manner without consulting the family first.

"He has been growing his locks from 1980 and he had it for the entire time. I can't even begin to talk about how this is affecting us because there is no reason for them to do this. If it was some country where they did not know about his religion, I would understand that, but this is Jamaica. It's not like he just started to grow them, they were down past his knees," she said.

no one taking the blame

Errol was found in his home in Mines District, St Ann on Thursday, January 2. The cause of his death is still to be determined, as autopsy results are pending.

Johnson said that when she went to look at his body in the funeral home, she realised that her husband had no hair.

She said that his locks were in a bucket of dirty water. She has been seeking answers from the funeral home ever since, and said that every time she makes queries, the narrative changes, with no one taking the blame.

"When we first ask, they said to me if I am sure that they cut the locks. The next time we asked, they said they know nothing of it, then they said it fell off. Another time, they said it was dirty because it (the body) was found in a pool of blood that is why. But nobody took ownership of it. They are still denying it," she said.

Johnson wants the funeral home to pay for the emotional distress the family is going through.

When THE STAR reached out to the funeral home, the person in charge did not want to divulge much information.

She, however, hinted that Errol was found in a decomposed state which would be the cause for his hair loss.

Another funeral home operator in St Catherine said that in a case of decomposition, the skin starts to deteriorate and the hair would fall out on its own. Therefore, there would be no need to shave or trim the deceased.

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