1The mortuary that cremated the wrong body for a politician's funeral
The wrong body was cremated at a politician's funeral after a mix-up over the spelling of his name.
Conservative MEP Philip Bradbourn's surname was incorrectly spelled on his medical records. Unfortunately, the mistake was not picked up while he was being treated for bowel cancer at Good Hope Hospital in Sutton Coldfield.
The unchecked error contributed to the wrong body being released for his January 16, 2015 funeral, with the remains of the similarly-named Philip Bradburn cremated instead. On February 23, 2015, a second funeral and cremation was held at Bushbury Crematorium in Wolverhampton with Mr. Bradbourn's body.
Bradbourn was also a former Wolverhampton City Council leader. He died in 2014 at the age of 63.
2The funeral home that buried the deceased a day before the wake
In early November 2015, Monique Williams, the daughter of 74-year-old Ella Mae Rutledge, arrived at Leak and Sons Funeral Home in the Chatham neighborhood of Chicago for a last-minute inspection of her mother's body before the wake.
She quickly noticed the complexion and nails of the body were different than that of her mother. Williams pulled her mom's wig back to confirm her suspicions—her mother had white hair, unlike the dark-haired woman in the casket.
"We said, 'This doesn't look nothing like mama.' We knew she would look different, but we said, 'Man, she can't look that different.' She had none of my mother's characteristics."
Spencer Leak Sr., owner of Leaks and Sons Funeral Home, said an employee mistakenly switched tags with Rutledge and the other body. Adding to the confusion, the daughter of the other woman had identified Rutledge as her mother, Leak said.
In the confusion, Rutledge's body was buried a day earlier. It has since been exhumed and returned to the funeral home.
3The woman who was cremated against her family's wishes
In 2012, a grieving family faced more bad news when they arrived at the funeral home to attend the memorial for 81-year-old matriarch Marguerite Mercier-Pelletier—they found that the funeral home had placed the wrong body in her coffin.
Directors at the Oscar St-Ours Funeral Home in Shawinigan, Quebec had accidentally cremated the woman's body, which was not what her family had requested.
The home blamed the oversight on a paperwork mistake, and the woman's family appears split over whether they will forgive the funeral home for their irrevocable actions. Mercier-Pelletier's brother said that he understands and has no ill will toward funeral administrators while other family members are allegedly considering legal action.
4The pallbearers who dropped the coffin of a deceased man and ran away
Debbie Swales, 47, screamed and collapsed as pallbearers carrying her devoted husband Gavin, 55, let him slip from their grasp.
As if dropping Gavin's coffin wasn't bad enough, they allegedly ran off, leaving the coffin on the ground and smashed open at a ceremony attended by hundreds of mourners in West Cemetery, Newcastle.
Swales' eldest sons helped to pick up the body of the loving dad-of-eight while shocked family members looked on in horror.
Debbie then had to rearrange his funeral. A second service with a different funeral director was held after the coffin was dropped at the first.
5The funeral home that switched a child's casket at the last minute
There is nothing more traumatizing than grieving the loss of a child. In March 2014, a Florida family was further devastated when a funeral home stopped their baby's funeral after mixing up his casket.
Mourners said it happened as they gathered around the gravesite, placed flowers at the marker and watched the casket lower into the ground. At that point, officials from Elijah Bell Funeral Home in Miami stopped the service to switch caskets.
Before the ceremony, relatives said they caught workers carrying a white casket covered with a pink blanket for a baby girl's funeral.
The funeral director reportedly had to tell the grieving family the baby they thought they buried wasn't in the casket and asked if they wanted another service once the mistake was discovered.
The family's infant boy, Netfa Jabari Malcolm, Jr., died March 2, 2014 just two weeks after he was born prematurely.
6The cemetery workers who dumped a woman's body in a stranger's grave and stole her casket
In June 2013, it was discovered that workers at a Catholic cemetery dumped the body of a would-be nun in a stranger's grave before swiping her metal casket more than two decades earlier.
The family of Juanita Scarfia have alleged their sibling was mistakenly disinterred in 1989 by careless employees, who then stole her casket. Relatives spent the next 23 years unwittingly visiting an empty plot in St. Mary's Cemetery on Staten Island beneath a gravestone bearing Juanita's name and the words “In God's Care.”
The discovery of Juanita's missing remains —left scattered beneath the dirt of a nearby grave —was the latest cruel twist for a family dogged by the tragedy of her death.
In 1970, Juanita left the convent after falling in love with a priest. The 20-year-old then decided to follow her father into the military. However, she received a card from the priest declaring he was committed to the church. The distraught young woman shot herself in the head and died on November 5, 1970.
7The funeral home that put the wrong body on display
Nivina Cargill's family say they were traumatized by an Ohio funeral home that lost her body and put the wrong corpse on display at a private viewing.
Cargill, 52, died from cardiac arrest on June 21, 2015. When family members arrived at the funeral home for a private viewing before the service, they were horrified to see another woman's body in the casket. It took staff about five hours to find Cargill's body and prepare it for viewing.
Relatives have filed a lawsuit against Smoot Funeral Services in Columbus, Ohio and seeking more than $50,000 in damages. According to the suit, family members have "lost sleep and suffered nightmares as a result of the defendants' conduct."
8The undertakers who pressured a widower to bury a stranger's body
A South African man was shocked when he opened the casket at his beloved wife's funeral and found a complete stranger lying inside.
Michael Galant's 58-year-old wife, Magdalene, died on January 26, 2013. While friends and family crowded into the church funeral ceremony, Galant and his daughter, Leota Lakay, realized they had a crisis on their hands as they stared down at the stranger's body.
They spoke up about their suspicions, but the undertakers tried to insist that the body they'd delivered was indeed Magdalene's. Rumors of the mix-up started spreading through the crowd. Eventually, the funeral directors admitted that they'd pulled the wrong drawer out of the morgue. However, when the Galants wanted to halt the funeral service immediately, the undertakers convinced them to bury the stranger.
After the ceremony, funeral service staff took the family to the mortuary. Magdalene was still there. The funeral directors apologized for handing over the wrong body and have promised to help the Galants arrange another funeral.