NEW YORK – New York state officials are investigating after a funeral home put the wrong body in the casket for an 81-year-old woman’s viewing and subsequent cremation.
The family of Val-Jean McDonald noticed something was different with her appearance during her open-casket viewing in December but thought it might have to do with her long bout with cancer.
“Why did they cut off all her hair?” son Errol McDonald remembers thinking. “Maybe it’s the cancer.”
“We all did a double-take,” said Richard McDonald, another son. “We thought something happened, and this is the best they could do.”
But some of McDonald’s grandchildren were not convinced. “My 10-year-old son said, ‘Daddy, that’s not Grandma,’ ” Errol said.
Another son, Darryl, said McCall’s Bronxwood Funeral Home did not realize its mistake until it came time to find the other woman, The New York Times reported.
The owner of the funeral home declined to comment on the case but said they have had a stellar record over 50 years in business.