Wrong Body in Casket at South Philly Funeral

Worst funeral ever

By Teresa Masterson
|  Thursday, Aug 20, 2009  |  Updated 4:42 PM EDT
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Wrong Body in Casket at South Philly Funeral

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"That's how they look when they die," a funeral director told a widow. An unknown man was in her husband's casket.

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Janie Holsey told a funeral home employee that the man in the casket was not her husband.

"That's how they look when they die," a funeral home employee told the grieving widow, according to the Daily News.

“How they look when they die” is a completely different person in the case of 80-year-old Kenneth “Tex” Roberts at the James L. Hawkins Funeral Home at 1640 Federal St. Monday, reports the Daily News’ Kitty Caparella.

Despite Roberts’ wife’s disturbing proclamation, the funeral service went on the next day, with more than 200 mourners passing by a casket containing an unknown man dressed in Robert’s suit and clothes.

"I touched him," Roberts’ daughter Rhonda Wearing told the Daily News. "We kissed him. Some of us thought it was him."

But the story gets worse.

When the funeral director finally admitted to the family that there was a “mix-up,” right before the funeral was about to start, more havoc followed:

Relatives cried and children were hysterical. A 19-year-old had a seizure and a woman had an asthma attack. Both were brought to the hospital.

The man in Roberts' casket appeared older than Roberts and relatives were told that man had been killed, said Wearing. Roberts' body had been in a casket at the Francis Funeral Home in West Philadelphia, which is run by the same funeral director, 6ABC reported.

The horror didn’t stop there:

When the funeral employees finally located and brought the real Roberts, his legs were hanging out of a tilted casket when the hearse door was opened.

Wearing told the Daily News that the funeral employees must have driven so fast, hitting bumps, so that the casket opened.

"It was unspeakable," she said.
 

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