Family shocked after funeral home mixes up bodies, cremates wrong one

A Nova Scotia family is reeling after a funeral home presented them with two wrong bodies  only then to learn their loved one had been mistakenly cremated.

Sandra Bennett died on Dec. 20 at age 65 after a lengthy illness. Her visitation was scheduled for a week later, Dec. 27, with her funeral to follow on the same day.

But nothing went as planned, and the experience left family members angry, traumatized and wondering how there could be a mix up involving at least three bodies.

Before Bennett’s open-casket visitation was set to begin, family members say Bennett’s widower, Gary, pointed out to funeral home staff that the body of the woman in the casket was not his wife.

After some discussion, that casket was wheeled out and another brought in. That one also did not contain his wife’s body, but the deceased woman was wearing Bennett’s clothes, according to family members.

After both bodies were taken away, funeral home staff returned to explain that Bennett’s body had been mistakenly cremated.

One family member expressed, “It’s just like a horror story.”

The chairman of the board responsible for overseeing funeral directors in Nova Scotia confirms an investigation is underway into the “mistake” last month at the Serenity Funeral Home in Berwick, located in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley.

Some funeral homes in Nova Scotia require that a family member identify the deceased before the cremation process begins, he said, and with more and more people opting for cremation, he recommends that families make that request.