"Either his heart was removed while he was still alive for some kind of transplant or it was taken as part of an improper autopsy," said attorney Aaron Freiwald.
Freiwald, an attorney, was referring to the heart of U.S. Marine Sgt. Brian LaLoup, who died last year from a self-inflicted gunshot wound at age 21 while stationed at the U.S. embassy located in Athens, Greece.
LaLoup's family, of Coatesville, Pa., added an Athens hospital and the government of Greece on Wednesday to a lawsuit Friewald is handling claiming their son's body was mishandled, causing them emotional distress.
The U.S. government had previously been named in the lawsuit.
The bizarre tale began in August 2012. LaLoup told fellow Marines at the an embassy party that he was feeling suicidal, then wandered into a "response room," took a gun and shot himself, according to the lawsuit. He died that night at a hospital.
Only a month after LaLoup was buried with full honors back at home did a soldier accidentally inform his mother that his heart was removed under unknown circumstances at the hospital.
"The family has been denied an honest accounting," Freiwald said.
LaLoup's parents, Craig and Beverly, do not know if LaLoup's heart was destroyed, or if it was stolen in some kind of organ harvesting operation.
"It could have been. if they removed his heart while he was still alive," Freiwald said. "If the heart was removed during the autopsy and it wasn’t returned the chances are it was destroyed."