A 20-year-old who stopped on a North Texas freeway to help a couple after they crashed was hit and killed by a suspected drunk driver.
But now, the family of James Fofanah is fighting to lay him to rest following years of estrangement.
It’s a family's quest to get their son's body from the state for a burial to honor his Sierra Leone culture.
James is a former foster child who had 'aged out' of the system. The 20-year-old was struck and killed four days ago on LBJ Freeway. He was a Good Samaritan who stopped to help another motorist when both were struck by a suspected drunk driver.
James’ biological father, Foday Fofanah, says CPS has arranged a funeral without involving them.
“I called back and said, ‘My family, we have a culture we honor and everything. Are we allowed?’” Foday recalled. “I called yesterday over 30 or 40 times and no response back.”
CPS tells FOX 4 it's working toward a way to allow all of those who loved him honor his life. A statement from the agency says in part, “This young man came into foster care as a child because he was mistreated by his caregivers to the point where his parents’ rights were terminated. CPS was legally his family."
But the biological family has a different account for the CPS action in 2012, saying James was a troubled teen who lashed out against his parents as they tried to discipline him.
Franklin Harris was James’ foster parent. He says James had changed and was becoming a responsible adult attending college and reconnected with his biological siblings. They aren't surprised he stopped to help at an accident scene.
"We're going to honor him like the media has honored him and said he was a hero,” Harris said. “Then let that hero be with his family when he leaves here."
The state-arranged funeral is set for this week.
"They say they will have one on Thursday. There’s nothing we can do about it,” Foday said. ‘They said he belongs to the state and they will bury him.”
His birth family has not petitioned a district court to intervene. Their lawyers filed an emergency injunction on Wednesday that would force CPS to release his body to them.
They will have to wait until Thursday morning to see if they will be granted the injunction.