Grandfather anxious to bury grandson blames ex son-in-law for delay

Posted by: Melissa McKinney - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - For Ed Chermak, closure is hard to come by.

"Please give us the right to put our child's soul to rest," he says.

He's dealing with more than just the death of his grandson, Presten.

The 2-year old's body is being kept at Prattville Memorial funeral home waiting to be buried.

Chermak's ex son-in-law Jonathan Katan is accused of murdering the child.

He believes Katan is delaying the burial.

"We just feel at this point basically what he's doing is he knows he's uncomfortable.  He might as well make the rest of us uncomfortable."

Police officers charged Katan with murdering the child in February.

An autopsy determined Presten died from blunt force injuries to the head.

Katan, who says the baby died accidentally, asked for another autopsy.

The grandfather says that simply prolonged the agony.

"The father could at least have the courtesy to stop putting undue pressure on the family and leaving this poor child there without the right to be at least put a soul to rest."

A judge initially agreed to the second autopsy.  But Assistant District Attorney Darryl Bailey says his office appealed.

"We felt it wasn't necessary," says Bailey.

A judge eventually denied the request for another autopsy.  Despite that, the baby's body remains at the funeral home.

Katan - who still has partial custody of the child - hasn't agreed to the burial.

"We're begging for one of two things. Either the father turns around and agrees to turn over the rights to the that the child can be put to rest, or that the judge finally agrees to turn around and turn over the rights to the mother so that she can make the decisions."

WSFA 12 News contacted Katan's defense lawyers. They had no comment other than to say they would like for the case to be kept in the courtroom.

The District Attorney's office says police are still investigating the crime.

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