CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – It was a shocking and sad moment for one Charlotte family: When they went to say their final goodbyes to their loved one, they say they looked into the casket and found a stranger in it.
75-year-old Catherine B. White passed away on June 26 after a fierce battle with terminal cancer. Her son, an ER physician, took care of her in the last four months of her life.
“She died in my home. I knew what she looked like the minute she left my home at 1:11 a.m. on June the 26th this year,” her son Jerry Bowman said.
Bowman says they went to Alexander Funeral Home in Charlotte for a memorial service for his mother, but found another woman dressed in her clothes and jewelry.
“She doesn’t deserve this. Nobody deserves anything like this,” Bowman said.
Bowman, along with the rest of the family was confused and questioning how something like this could have happened.
“It’s surreal. This feels like a nightmare,” he said. “How do you embalm and bury the wrong body?”
Right clothes, right jewelry, but family says wrong person.
“So, a strange woman that is not our mother is wearing clothes that my niece bought for our mother to be buried in.”
It gets worse: From what FOX 46 has learned thus far from the owner is that they’ve already buried her in another cemetery and now the family that hasn’t even had time to mourn is trying to figure out how to exhume White’s body.
“They have to exhume her body, but it has to be with the permission of the other family… I don’t know why they didn’t notice, but God bless her soul, somebody in the Charlotte area buried the wrong family member.”
FOX 46 didn’t get much of a comment from the funeral home.
“They’re not speaking to the media. They’re not speaking, so they have no statement,” a funeral home employee said.
But police were on scene filling out a report Monday. Bowman and his relatives have no clue who this woman was, her name, her story or how she ended up here, but they would like his mother to have the burial she deserves.
“She’s one of the sweetest, nicest people you could ever meet,” Bowman said.
The family suspects another family buried White thinking it was their relative. They’re hoping to get in contact with them. They were also already calling attorneys before they left the parking lot to see if they have any recourse.