25 Investigates

25 Investigates: Ruling in battle over baby’s remains

A months long battle over the remains of a baby who died suddenly in Revere has ended with a ruling intended to satisfy both parents.  25 Investigates first told you about the unusual custody case in June.

2-month-old Luka Bustillo died in the care of his mother in January.  His body has been with the State Medical Examiner ever since.  An official cause of death is still pending, but Luka’s mother and a source with direct knowledge of the autopsy findings told 25 investigates SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) is suspected.

The MA Department of Children and Families had received several reports about Luka’s care in his short life and 25 Investigates has learned a social worker had conducted a well-being check on him shortly before his death.

Luka had just moved back in with Gauthier the day before his death, despite “persistent concerns” of her “sobriety regarding alcohol use,” according to the DCF documents we reviewed.

The case was brought to probate court by Luka’s father, Dennis Bustillo of Framingham.  Bustillo petitioned the court for Luka’s remains for a funeral and burial.  Luka’s mother, Jamie Gauthier sought to have Luka cremated and his ashes brought to her home state of Minnesota.

A hearing was held Tuesday on the case in Suffolk County Probate Court where both parents described their rocky, and at times, violent relationship.   “He shoved me on the bed and he shoved me on the floor,” Gauthier said describing one alleged encounter with Bustillo.  Bustillo made similar accusations of abuse against Gauthier telling Judge Brian J. Dunn, “I was chased out of the house with Luka in my arms as she was physically assaulting me.”

Gauthier described a family plot in Minnesota, “with open places everywhere” for his final resting place.  Bustillo said he has chosen a plot for Luka at a cemetery in Natick.

A decision in the case was issued Wednesday morning.  Judge Dunn ruled that Gauthier is entitled to Luka’s remains but she must, “produce the remains to a licensed funeral home selected by Dennis Bustillo to allow him to conduct a funeral service for the child,” according to the order.

Gauthier was authorized to have Luka’s remains cremated after Bustillo holds his service.  The ruling calls for the ashes to be divided evenly between both parents.

Gauthier’s lawyer, Phil Tracy Jr. called the decision very fair.  He said his client feels vindicated by the ruling. Bustillo expressed dissatisfaction.  He told 25 Investigates, “The entire purpose of this was to prevent a baby from being burned.  My son had a single soul.  Splitting his ashes crushes my family and me.”

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