Gulfport man creates custom casket wraps to honor late sister

After losing his sister and honoring her by designing her casket, Casey Lawhon has gotten the attention of many far and near.
Published: Apr. 22, 2022 at 10:32 PM CDT
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GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - One Gulfport man has gone from grieving to now giving.

After losing his sister and honoring her by designing her casket, he’s gotten the attention of many far and near.

Inside his trailer, Casey Lawhon makes memories.

“She was tragically murdered on Easter morning,” he said.

Friday night, he was wrapping the casket 22-year-old Kayla Cooper will be buried in.

The mother of three was murdered Sunday.

Police said her boyfriend and children’s father, Zavago Wilson, committed the crime.

“My sister went to school with her, and I went to school with her sister. It kind of hit home. I had a couple of people reach out to me about doing her casket. Of course, I’m going to do it,” he said.

It’s not the first casket Lawhon has wrapped.

He got his start in January, just days after his sister Raelan died.

The 21-year-old took an oxycodone pill she didn’t know was laced with fentanyl.

“My mom found her in her house. I was one of the first people there. I left here. It just changed everything,” Lawhon said.

After making a custom design for his sister’s casket, video of it went viral and he was inundated with requests to wrap other caskets.

That’s led to him starting a business called In Memory Casket Wraps, in memory of Raelan.

“I make sure her name is pushed every single time I do something. I am not letting my little sister’s name go away. I love this little picture of my sister, I remember the day. Even when it hurts, when I turn around and look at that, that is the reason why I do this,” he said.

Lawhon has custom-designed several caskets since then, including one of a Hancock County teen who was accidentally shot and killed. She had aspirations to be a TikTok star.

His work has gained national attention, something he wasn’t looking for.

“I literally didn’t feel like I was doing anything, other than wrapping, but I guess it’s meant so much more. Since then, I’ve wrapped too many kids caskets, way too many kids,” he said.

Each job costs families about $1,400. He’s completed 11 so far.

“My goal was to make it so that she is never forgotten,” he said.

One casket at a time, Lawhon is turning tragedy into triumph.

“I try my best to do something that will bring a family’s mind at peace,” he said.

Lawhon said for the caskets he’s designed for children who have died, not one parent has had to pay.

He asks for donations to lessen the burden on parents and said many of them are paid off within hours.

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