North Carolina sisters find unknown body in their mother's casket at funeral home
AHOSKIE, NORTH CAROLINA: A pair of sisters had to deal with one of the worst mix-ups of their lives after they found another woman inside their mother’s casket at a funeral home. Jennifer Taylor and Jennetta Archer’s mother Mary Archer died in August. Earlier this month, in September, the sisters went to see their mother's body at Hunter’s Funeral Home in Ahoskie. They were shocked when they found some other dead woman wearing their mom’s clothes inside the casket.
Jennifer told 10 On Your Side, “We just couldn’t understand how this could happen. There’s no similarity in the person. Their size was way off. When the first person had the clothing on, she was swimming in the clothes because she was so small compared to my mother.” The pair also claimed that when they first confronted the staff at Hunter’s Funeral Home, they initially denied it. However, when they later went back into the embalming room, they found the body of the real Mary Archer there.
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Though the bodies were exchanged later, the sisters felt they never received a proper apology from the funeral home. Jennetta claimed, “No one addressed it immediately. It would have been a different situation if they had just come upfront and addressed it immediately to show that yes, they did, they made an error.”
10 On Your Side spoke with Hunter’s Funeral Home’s lead embalmer who said that the mistake happened on September 7, but added that they have already said sorry to the family for their mistake. The lead embalmer also added that this kind of thing happened for the first time in more than 40 years of the funeral home’s history. He said they called the sisters for an explanation, but Jennifer and Jennetta said they did not receive any such call. Jennetta added: “What do you do to prevent something like that from happening? Don’t they have a chart per person and treat them like a customer or a patient or whatever you want to refer to them as so that you don’t have them mixed up?”
This happens months after a Michigan family alleged that a funeral home put the wrong person inside the casket during their father’s burial. Larry Tillman’s son, Spenser Tillman, said: “We are all very sad, all very distraught. Everyone knew that wasn’t our father. Even as we were walking in, people who knew him said, ‘Tell them to put your father in the casket because that’s not your father.' Just from the way that he looked, there were facial features that he had that wasn’t there.”
Spenser said they kept demanding answers from Lawrence E Moon Funeral Home, but did not receive any explanation. Spenser noted, “We kept saying, ‘This is not Larry Tillman. Is there some sort of mixup?’” before adding that the family continued with the procedure despite their doubts. The son of the deceased man added: “With what we knew, and from what they were saying at the time, we proceeded as best as we could. No, we did not mourn, we didn’t cry, it was like living in the ‘Twilight Zone.’ We did watch them lower the body into the ground."