*Oh man! This is a travesty no family should ever have to experience. The pain and distress of losing a relative to death now magnetized by an unfathomable error made by the funeral home you’ve entrusted their remains to. In case you missed hearing about the Chicago family whose worst nightmare came to reality recently, when during the viewing they discovered the woman in the casket was a total stranger.
And adding insult to injury, their loved one had already been buried the day before.
The horrific event happened about a week ago. And according to the Chicago Tribune, the family of 74-year-old Ella Mae Rutledge is preparing a lawsuit.
Ms. Rutledge had succumbed to Alzheimer’s. And though her daughter, Monique Williams, expected her mother to look different after funeral home prep of the body, the dissimilarities of the person she and her family viewed went above and beyond their expectations.
“We said, ‘This doesn’t look nothing like mama,’” said Williams. “We knew she would look different but we said, ‘Man, she can’t look that different.’ She had none of my mother’s characteristics.”
The only thing the woman had in common with their loved one was race. She was indeed black; but her complexion, nails, and hair were all different.
Williams and her family learned Ms. Rutledge had been put in the ground a day earlier.
According to CBS, Rutledge’s body was misidentified with another woman’s. And the wrong tag was placed on her body by an employee at the funeral home.
According to Spencer Leak Sr., the owner of Leaks and Sons Funeral Home in the neighborhood of Chatham, nothing like this has ever happened in the company’s 83 year history.
Sidebar: Would we expect them to say any different?
“This is the first time dealing with someone erroneously interred.”
And let’s hope it is the last, sir!
And don’t you wonder how something like this escaped the family of the other deceased woman?
“Once we found out and we asked her if she was sure that it was her mom, she said she was having second thoughts about it,” Leak said. “She was very distraught and wanted to let the other family know she was very sorry.”
We can only imagine all of the upset that such a HUGE error is causing the families involved here. Williams and her family chose to forego the service that was planned by the funeral home. But with 300 family members who had flown to town from all over the country to bury their beloved Ms. Rutledge in town, they knew they had to memorialize her.
So they did do a memorial service of their own, with no physical body.
And although the funeral home has since exhumed the body of Ms. Rutledge, the family doesn’t plan to do another service, nor do any more business with Leaks and Sons Funeral Home.
“We’re not having another funeral or homecoming ceremony. This was too much. My father is totally distraught. He and my mother bought a prepaid policy a long time ago, but after this, he told me, ‘No way in hell let my body go there when I die.’”
This is a hurt that not even a lawsuit can heal. Unfathomable!
Watch daughter to decedent, Monique Williams, speak to the media in the video below.