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Sea burial botched as man's body resurfaces

/ Source: msnbc.com staff and news service reports

Authorities suspected foul play when the body of a North Carolina man surfaced near a South Florida beach — until they found his obituary.

Daniel Scott Lasky, 48, had died from A.L.S., or Lou Gehrig's Disease, on Sept. 8. Authorities said his family placed his body on dry ice, loaded him in a van and drove from Hickory, N.C., to Florida to honor his dying wish to be entombed in the depths of the sea.

Lasky's widow, Sharon, his pastor and several family members stopped overnight in Daytona Beach before continuing on to Fort Lauderdale, The Miami Herald reported.

The group then boarded the charter boat Mary B III with the body on Friday. The boat's captain and crew took family members out to sea to say their final goodbyes, The Miami Herald reported, citing the Broward Sheriff's Office.

The next day, a fisherman saw the body floating on the surface about 4 1/2 miles offshore from Port Everglades, the Herald report said. 

reported that the body's wrappings had come undone, and marine deputies from the sheriff's office and U.S. Coast Guard personnel rushed to the scene, while homicide detective kept tabs on the situation from land.

"Clearly what they were doing was trying to honor the wishes of their loved one," Broward Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Veda Coleman-Wright told the newspaper.

Coleman-Wright told the Sun Sentinel that Sharon Lasky did consult with a company in North Carolina about the burial, and subcontractors in Florida ultimately handled it. "The burial would have been successful if Lasky's body hadn't floated back to the surface," she said.

The Herald said it reached Sharon Lasky at home Tuesday night, but she declined to comment on the incident.

Lasky 'enjoyed vacationing in Florida'An online obituary from the Hickory Daily Record said grocery store and Nabisco employee Lasky had a "celebration of life" at Augustana Lutheran Church in December 2009.

The church's pastor, Andrew Smith, told The Miami Herald in an e-mail that Lasky and his wife "enjoyed vacationing in Florida, which was why he wanted to be buried at sea."

Sea burials are legal for both cremated and non-cremated human remains, but the Environmental Protection Agency lists specific requirements for them.

As Lasky's family did not cremate his body, the rules specify that "all necessary measures shall be taken to ensure that the remains sink to the bottom rapidly and permanently."

Smith's e-mail said that Lasky was "a loving husband" to his wife of 15 years, the Herald reported. His obituary said his wife, parents, brother and "a number of nieces and nephews" survive him.