Terrible mix-up

Funeral home admits to cremating the wrong woman

Leroy McDonald looks through a program from his mother’s funeral. The funeral home confused the remains of his mother with those of another woman. (Edwin J. Torres/The New York Times)

A funeral home in New York City put the wrong woman in a casket for a viewing and cremation, and only realized the mistake several days later. The family of the 81-year old great-great-grandmother, Val-Jean McDonald, who died in December, had noticed she looked different during the open-casket viewing, but as she was wearing her familiar clothing and jewelry, they attributed her appearance to her long struggle with cancer. “We all did a double-take,” Richard McDonald, one of her sons, told The New York Times. “We thought something happened, and this is the best they could do.” When a 10-year old grandson said, “Daddy, that’s not grandma,” his father even had to convince the child that it was her, explaining that people often look different in death. It was only six days later, when the McCall’s Bronxwood Funeral Home found the body of Val-Jean McDonald, that workers there called one of her sons to explain that the woman he had greeted and kissed goodbye at the funeral was not his mother. The owner of the funeral home told The New York Times that he had no comments to make on the case, but added that his business has a stellar reputation in the community. The case is now under investigation by the state’s Division of Cemeteries and Bureau of Funeral Directing.

A funeral home confused the remains of Leroy McDonald's mother with those of another woman. (Edwin J. Torres/The New York Times)

A funeral home confused the remains of Leroy McDonald’s mother with those of another woman. (Edwin J. Torres/The New York Times)

Read the full story at The New York Times.

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