FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – A mortuary worker is suing his former employer, claiming that he was fired after doing work on two stressful cases, including one that is connected to a high-profile murder investigation. The lawsuit details the two cases, one of which is the Vandewege murders.
Craig Vandewege has been accused of slashing the throats of his wife and their 3-month-old son last December. He was found in Colorado and extradited back to Fort Worth to face murder charges. During the arrest, Vandewege told officers that he was having a “long week” because his family had been killed and he was being blamed.
Jeremy Hoes was one of the people to handle the bodies of the two victims when they arrived at Accu Care Mortuary Services in Fort Worth. His lawsuit does not list the Vandewege family by name, but lists a date and specific details about the case that match up exactly.
According to the lawsuit, Hoes also worked on a body in November that exposed him to dangerous fumes. The work gave him chronic asthma, he said.
Hoes is suing his former employee, saying that he suffered a “post traumatic stress reaction” after doing work on the multiple victims, and was then fired for threatening to file a worker’s compensation claim. Hoes was released from Accu Care Mortuary Services in January, two days after saying that he planned to file the claims.
In the lawsuit, Hoes claimed that the company offered to pay for medical expenses instead of worker’s compensation, but that never happened. He is now asking for an amount between $100,000 and $1 million.
An attorney representing Accu Care Mortuary Services issued a statement over the phone on Thursday morning. “Hoes made allegations in the lawsuit that didn’t come up until after he was terminated,” said attorney Joanna Solinas. “Accu Care denies his claims and we’re looking forward to defending the case.”
When asked why Hoes was fired, Solinas said that it was over a personal matter, and would not go into detail.
Update: Accu Care Mortuary Services issued a longer statement on Friday.
Our firm’s attorneys will file a response denying recent claims by a former employee that are without merit. The lawsuit contains information that is both misleading and inaccurate. For example, evidence will show that the employee never picked up a body of an individual who died from inhaling paint fumes and our vehicles are equipped with hazmat equipment. Our company carries worker’s compensation coverage and clearly posts the information employees need to file claims. We appreciate the opportunity to set the record straight on this issue.