Family of woman whose body decomposed in a Belk’s restroom filing lawsuit


COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) – The family of a woman whose body was found decomposed in a Belk’s department store restroom last year will announce they’re filing a lawsuit against the department store.

The family of Bessie Durham, who worked as a custodian for the store at the Columbiana Centre, will address media today at 11 a.m. at the law offices of Chris Hart on North Main Street.

According to Lexington County Coroner Margaret Fisher, Durham, 63, of Columbia, died of natural causes. There was no indication of foul play.

Authorities say she was last seen on Thursday, September 15, 2022 cleaning the restrooms when she passed away.  Her body wasn’t discovered until four days later.

The lawsuit claims that Belk failed to inspect the restrooms and failed to properly hire contractors to inspect and clean the restroom and then failed to supervise the contractors to ensure the cleaning and inspections were done properly.

It seeks damages for the family’s pain and suffering, as well as other costs incurred by the family.

According to the complaint, her family could smell her body inside the casket at the funeral due to the advanced decomposition of her body.

The family alleges that they were not able to properly bury her.
Stay with ABC Columbia with updates.
Categories: Local News