Mortuary Buries Wrong Woman After Husband’s Complaint

There’s nothing funny about death. When someone dies there’s very little that can be said to grieving relatives and friends to make light of the situation. After all, death is the ultimate curtain call, and acts as a reminder that there are n do-overs — at least, there are not supposed to be. Unfortunately for one family in Los Angeles, this assumption doesn’t hold true. According to a report from NBC 4 of Los Angeles, an Inglewood mortuary admitted to burying the wrong body. The kicker, however, is that the husband of the deceased informed said mortuary that they had the wrong woman in the casket. Now I don’t know about you, but, having been married to a woman for 51-years like the husband of the deceased, I’d like to think that this man knew who and what his wife looked like. Yet, they buried the wrong woman after her husband’s complaint.

An Inglewood mortuary admitted Monday it made a mistake and put a woman in the wrong casket.

A spokesman made the admission several days after Evans Davidson, 73, complained that the woman in the casket at the viewing wasn’t his wife.

“I was pretty certain it wasn’t my wife – unless she did some awful changing,” he said.

Officials at Simpson’s Mortuary claimed it was Darlene Davidson, his wife of 51 years, but she looked different because she was embalmed.

“It wasn’t my wife and I knew it,” Davidson said.

Darlene Davidson was not buried on March 1st - instead an unidentified stranger was laid to rest - to her families horror
Darlene Davidson was not buried on March 1st – instead an unidentified stranger was laid to rest – to her families horror

A few days after the funeral, he received a call from the mortuary. An employee told him he might have been right after all because another family was now claiming a “body switch,” and his wife’s body was still at the mortuary.

“I didn’t know what to think,” he said. “Why am I going to ID a body when my wife’s supposed to be buried already?”

Davidson said workers at the mortuary told him they had a lady “jumping up and down saying this is not her mother.”

Dr. Reginald Black, a spokesman for Simpson’s Mortuary, said they buried the wrong woman in Darlene Davidson’s grave.

The mortuary offered to exhume the body and pay all expenses for both families to have proper funeral services. (source)

I don’t know if the mortuary in question is black owned. If it isn’t, I’d hate to think that they operate on the premiss of all black people looking alike. That’s not to say that a black owned funeral home isn’t exempt from committing an egregious mistake of burying the wrong person. But I find it peculiar that nobody else (other than the husband of the deceased) protested or made the declaration. Obviously black folks are known to be very emotional at funerals (yes, I’ve been witness to black folk attempting to dive in graves on occasion). So I’m surprised that a fight didn’t break out.

Having said that, it’s hard for me to understand just how this can happen. But then again, when I was seven I attended the funeral of one of my aunts who if you didn’t know any better, you’d think she was a white woman. At her funeral, however, she was darker than myself; and, I never understood why anyone in my family noticed that it was not her. That aside, I couldn’t imagine having to go through the heartache and anguish of another funeral. Surely there’s something that can be done to hold the mortuary accountable; and I’m sure ambulance chasers are already on it.