Family: Paterson funeral home mixed up body of loved one

Posted: Updated:

A Paterson family says that a family tragedy was made even worse when a funeral home mixed up the body of their loved one.

Doris Chapman passed away earlier this month. Her family says that when they went to say a private goodbye the day before the funeral, it wasn't Doris that they saw. They also claim that the people at Bragg Funeral Home didn’t believe them.

"The family is very devastated. The family is very traumatized. Why? Because we knew that that lady that was sitting before our eyes in the coffin the night before was not our grandmother,” says Geralyn McNeal.

The family says that when they had their private viewing, the person in the coffin was wearing Chapman’s clothing, but they say that it was not her. The family says that no matter how many times they told the works that the body was not Chapman’s, they were told otherwise.

"They kept on insisting that was my grandmother, that things do happen, the body does change…we couldn’t believe it, but we had no choice but to believe it for the moment,” McNeal says.

“We thought that the funeral home knew best. They were telling us that she was not ready, ‘She won't look like this when we're done,’” says Chapman’s niece Valencia Coney.

The family says that Chapman’s body was in the casket the next day for the service. They say that at least one funeral home employee admitted to the mistake.

They say that they want answers to how this happened and an apology.

"We're still traumatized. We want to know. We want to know how that mistake came about, although mistakes do happen, we still want to know how that mistake came about,” McNeal says.

The family says that they plan to sue Bragg Funeral Home, hoping to prevent another family from having to go through the same experience.

A representative from Bragg Funeral Home did not wish to comment on this incident.

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