Family Says Funeral Home Mix-Up a ‘Horror Story’

January 19, 2018 Updated: January 19, 2018

A family in Nova Scotia, Canada, is still recovering from an unimaginable mix-up involving three separate bodies by a funeral home.

Serenity Funeral Home in Berwick reportedly presented the Canadian family with two wrong bodies.

But what’s worse is that their loved one had also been mistakenly cremated.

Family members of the late Sandra Bennett told CBC News that the incident left them traumatized.

“It’s just like a horror story,” one family member, who wished to remain anonymous told the network.

Sandra Bennett passed away last year on Dec. 20 after a long-lasting illness. She was 65 years old at the time of her death.

During the Dec. 27 open casket service relatives said that Benett’s widower, Gary, pointed out to funeral home staff that the body in the casket was not his wife.

Staff then wheeled out the casket and returned later but it still did not contain his wife’s body. Instead, it carried another deceased woman with Bennett’s clothes.

“I was shocked,” Bennett’s sister, Carolyn Dominey, told CTV News Canada on Wednesday. “It’s like they degraded my sister’s body against her wishes.”

Relatives told CBC News that after both bodies were taken away, the staff returned again to explain to them that Bennett’s body had been accidentally cremated.

“(I thought) this can’t be true. This is something you hear about on a TV show or somewhere in the States, but not in a small community,” Dominey’s daughter, JoAnne Dominey, told CTV.

Now the funeral home is being investigated over the tragic incident, according to Service Nova Scotia minister Geoff MacLellan. His department issues licenses for funeral homes, the Toronto Star reported.

“This can’t happen again,” MacLellan said, according to the newspaper.

“As a government, and a regulatory body for this board, we’ve got to instill the confidence of Nova Scotians that we’re handling these matters properly,” he added.

The board of provincial funeral directors told the Toronto Star on Wednesday, Jan. 17, that it’s likely the first time they have looked into such a case.

Board Chairman Adam Tipert said they are investigating how the funeral home handled Benett’s remains and how she ended up being cremated, despite family’s wishes not to.

On Thursday MacLellan offered his condolences to the family.

“Losing somebody and a death in the family is the hardest thing you’ll go through. It takes every bit of your strength mentally, emotionally and physically just to deal with the process,” he said. “To have this happen and impact these families in this way is tragic, it’s devastating, and quite frankly from the government’s perspective, it’s unacceptable.”



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