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Funeral home in the US cremates wrong woman

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Joe Ellison
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Once upon a time, you might have imagined dropping a casket would be the biggest blunder to befall a funeral director. 

Well that's a minor oversight compared to this terrifying case (literally).

Officials in New York State are currently investigating McCall’s Bronxwood Funeral Home after its staff put the wrong body in a coffin for an 81-year old woman who was to be cremated.

It gets worse: the day before the funeral and cremation, the company even held an open-view casket viewing for the late Val Jean McDonald, with of course the wrong body on show for all her family to grieve over. While many loved ones noticed something strange about her appearance, they simply put it down to her long bout with cancer.

“Why did they cut off all her hair?” son Errol McDonald told The NY Times. “Maybe it’s the cancer.”

“We all did a double-take,” Richard McDonald, another son said. “We thought something happened, and this is the best they could do.”

Others, however, weren’t convinced: "My 10-year-old son said, ‘Daddy, that’s not Grandma,’” added Errol, who simply told his son that people’s appearance can change after death.

And why not? It’s not as if a funeral home would dozily mix up two dead bodies belonging to two separate families, who would publicly grieve over a stranger’s dead body before sending it into a fiery end at the funeral, right?

Eventually the truth was outed, when a week later, the Funeral Home called another McDonald son, Darryl, to let him know that the woman in the coffin - who the sons had even kissed - was not the late parent. A fact which only dawned on the funeral home workers when they found the real McDonald.

According to the New York Times, in the piece entitled The Woman in the Coffin Wasn’t Mom, officials are still investigating, though given the unique nature of the case, nobody is as yet sure exactly what legal action may follow.

We’ve heard of grave mistakes, but this takes the biscuit.

[Images: Shutterstock]

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Joe Ellison

Joe is a writer and editor. Specialising in film, food, sport, current affairs, travel writing and adept at pilfering David Brent quotes, Joe describes himself as ‘basically a chilled out entertainer’. Follow Joe on Twitter: @Chevychased 

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