FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Grieving family members are demanding answers after, they said, a funeral home in Fort Lauderdale displayed the wrong body at a loved one’s wake.
Norma Newman’s family thought they would be saying their goodbyes to her at the Roy Mizell & Kurtz Funeral Home, located at 1305 NW 6th St., Saturday night.
Newman’s sister, Cuinthia Webber, said she went over to view the body only to discover a complete stranger inside the casket.
“I said, ‘No, this is not my sister. This is somebody we did not know,'” she said. “We did not know the person that was lying in the casket.”
Relatives said the person in the casket was not their loved one because something was missing.
“We asked her about the mole on our aunt’s face,” said Suzette Walsh, Newman’s niece. “They said that they covered it up with makeup. There was no mole there. Makeup couldn’t cover it because it’s kind of protruding out of her face.”
Loved ones said other physical characteristics didn’t add up. For instance, Newman only had four toes in one of her feet.
“They said she has all five of her toes,” said Camisha Stewart, Newman’s granddaughter. “That lady is not my grandmother.”
“At this point, we don’t know where my aunt’s body is. We don’t know,” said Marcia Durrant-Aris, Newman’s niece, as she broke down in tears. “We all came in here to mourn the loss of my aunt, and this is what we get, and nobody is taking ownership. We don’t know — many questions, unanswered questions. That’s not right.”
Family members said the funeral home knew something was wrong.
“They admit that this was not the person that was supposed to be in the casket,” said Webber.
However, on Monday, Newman’s family remains without answers.
“It just went to, ‘Honestly, we’re still investigating,’ ’cause they don’t honestly know where she’s at,” said Stewart.
“We just want to make sure that they don’t cremate this woman and act as if everything is OK,” said Walsh. “It’s not. We need to make sure that she’s at peace, and they don’t know where she is.”
7News spoke with another family who had the funeral of their loved one earlier this month. They said they have reason to believe the body they buried on March 2 may have been Newman’s. They believe the funeral home swapped the bodies.
When this family confronted the funeral home’s staff, they said the director told them they had no answers.
As of Monday evening, Newman’s family said the funeral home has not provided them any answers either.
Monday night, the funeral home told 7News they have no comment.
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