‘Dad, that’s not grandma’ – Family discovers wrong woman in coffin

2016-03-24 10:20
(File, iStock)

(File, iStock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

New York - “We all did a double-take,” said the son of an 81-year-old US woman, after the wrong body was put in his mother’s coffin and subsequently cremated.

Members of a New York family were taken aback during the open-casket viewing of their grandmother, Val-Jean McDonald, after they saw drastic “changes” to her appearance, The New York Times reported this week.

Val-Jean passed away in December last year after a long battle with cancer, and left behind eight sons and 20 grandchildren, AP reported.

One son, Errol McDonald, was confused as to why all her hair was cut off. Another son, Richard said the family did a double take on first viewing, but assumed it was the effect of the cancer.

But it took one of the grandchildren, Errol’s 10-year-old son, to call it as he saw it: “Dad, that’s not Grandma.”

The family put it down to the changing effects on the body post-mortem, and Val-Jean was cremated the next day, The Guardian reported.

However, McCall’s Bronxwood Funeral Home called a third son Darryl six days later to explain that there had been a mistake.

'Your mother is still here'

The funeral home discovered the error after they discovered Val-Jean’s body still at the morgue.

"That body was not your mother," they told the family. "Your mother is still here."

Darryl said the family were angry, and never suspected that a funeral parlour could make such a mistake.

The brothers scheduled another cremation at Woodlawn on January 9, where only four family members attended.

The owner of the funeral parlour declined to comment, but pointed to 50 years of service in the business.

New York’s Division of Cemeteries is investigating the case.

Read more on:    us

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.