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Coatesville Family Sues Over Heart Missing From Dead Son’s Body

(US Marine Sgt. Brian LaLoup, in family photo, provided)

(US Marine Sgt. Brian LaLoup, in family photo, provided)

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By Pat Loeb

COATESVILLE, Pa. (CBS) — A Chester County couple is suing the governments of Greece and the United States over what happened to the body of their son, a US Marine, after he killed himself while serving in Athens.

Aaron Freiwald, an attorney who is representing the LaLoup family of Coatesville, says the body was returned to the US missing an internal organ.  And now, he says, “The parents are looking for answers.”

Freiwald says Brian LaLoup died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head in August of last year.

“It’s hard enough when a parent loses a child, and when a military family has been separated from their son, it’s a very difficult thing to go through,” he notes.

And he says it’s compounded by the bizarre events that followed LaLoup’s death.  According to the lawsuit, Brian LaLoup was given an unauthorized autopsy at a Greek hospital, over the objections of American officials, who later discovered his heart had been removed in the process.

The suit says the LaLoups found out accidentally, after their son was buried, and efforts to find out what happened have been fruitless.  At one point, Freiwald says, the hospital tried to pass off another heart as the one removed from their son’s body but DNA testing proved it was not.

“It’s possible that Sgt. LaLoup’s heart was harvested (for transplant),” says Freiwald, “and we know there have been reports about a black market for organs in Europe.”

He says the LaLoups believe their son deserved better treatment.

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