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Family finds wrong woman in loved one’s casket before funeral

Published: Jan. 20, 2022 at 4:35 AM CST
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX) - An Ohio family says they made a shocking discovery ahead of a funeral for their loved one: the wrong body inside of the casket, dressed in the clothing they provided.

Sonya White’s family chose her scarlet-colored casket. They wanted everything to be perfect for the Ohio State Buckeyes fan who died unexpectedly at age 51.

“Everything we picked for my sister, we picked with love. We picked exactly what we thought she would have liked,” said White’s sister, Kisha Givens.

Sonya White, an Ohio State Buckeyes fan, died unexpectedly at age 51. Her family says when they...
Sonya White, an Ohio State Buckeyes fan, died unexpectedly at age 51. Her family says when they arrived for a special viewing ahead of her funeral, they were shocked to find a stranger in her casket.(Source: Family photos, WSYX via CNN)

But when the family arrived at the Marlan Gary Funeral Home for a special viewing Monday afternoon, they were shocked to find a stranger in White’s casket.

“When we walked in there, it was a different body in her casket with her clothes on, her undergarments, her Buckeye earrings and her wig,” said White’s cousin, Lisa Harden. “It was traumatic. No one should have to go through that with their loved one.”

White’s loved ones say she was a beautiful soul who did not deserve the careless treatment.

“You expect your loved one when they pass to be handled with care, and to be that careless with someone’s family member is inexcusable,” Givens said.

The family says the funeral home owner apologized for the mix-up and agreed to pay for the services. The owner had reportedly been in hot water about a decade ago for a mix-up with a baby’s remains.

White’s family says the incident made an already traumatizing moment worse. They are also sorry to the family of the woman who was first in their mother’s casket, as they were likely traumatized, as well.

“We wanted closure, but that is not something we will ever get. I never in my life seen something like this before,” Harden said.

The family plans to file a complaint with the state of Ohio.

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