Attorney for woman found alive at Detroit funeral home: 'They were about to embalm her'

Posted at 4:23 AM, Aug 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-25 12:55:49-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — A 20-year-old woman believed to have died was found breathing at a Detroit funeral home.

"They were about to embalm her which is most frightening had she not had her eyes open. They would have begun draining her blood to be very, very frank about it," Attorney Geoffrey Fieger, who has been hired by Timesha Beauchamp's family.

We spoke with Timesha's mother, who said she is a beautiful and caring 20-year-old young lady, who has a twin brother.

On Sunday morning, Southfield Fire Department paramedics responded to a home for an unresponsive woman. When they arrived, the fire chief said Beauchamp wasn't breathing; after standard efforts to revive her, first responders determined after about 30 minutes that she was deceased.

“Because there was no indication of foul play, as per standard operating procedure, the Oakland County Medical Examiner's Office was contacted and given the medical data. The patient was again determined to have expired and the body was released directly to the family to make arrangements with a funeral home of their choosing,” the chief said in a statement.

Hours later, staff at the James H. Cole funeral home realized Beauchamp was still breathing.

"It’s one of people's worst nightmares to imagine having an ambulance called and instead, sending you off to a funeral home in a body bag. The funeral home unzipping the body bag, literally, that’s what happened to Timesha, and seeing her alive with her eyes open," said Fieger.

It is still unclear what led up to the call for the unresponsive woman. Fieger said Beauchamp's Godmother, a registered nurse, was there and told EMS she felt a pulse.

Fieger says the 1.5-hour delay Beauchamp encountered by going to the funeral home instead of going to the hospital may be critical to her recovery.

"What did this delay do in terms of Timesha’s health for the rest of her life," he said.

Timesha is in critical condition at Sinai Grace Hospital and is on a ventilator.

“A local emergency department physician pronounced the patient deceased based upon medical information provided by the Southfield Fire Department at the scene. After which, the Southfield Police Department contacted the Oakland County Medical Examiner’s Office to notify them of the findings and the on-duty forensic pathologist released the body to the family. The Southfield Fire and Police Departments followed all appropriate city, county and state protocols and procedures in this case. The City of Southfield is currently conducting a thorough internal investigation in addition to the Oakland County Medical Control Authority (OCMCA) which will be reporting their findings to the State of Michigan Bureau of EMS, Trauma and Preparedness (BETP). In an effort to provide as much transparency as possible, more information will be provided as it is available.”
Southfield Fire Department

A spokesman for the Oakland County Medical Examiner‘s office said they did not go to pick up the body for an autopsy based on information provided to them by Southfield Police about the woman’s medical history and that no foul play was suspected.