FORT LAUDERDALE, FL (WSVN/CNN) - Grieving family members are demanding answers after they say a Florida funeral home displayed the wrong body at their loved one’s wake.
Norma Newman’s family thought they would be saying their last goodbyes to her Saturday night at Roy Mizell & Kurtz Funeral Home in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
But when Newman’s sister, Cuinthia Webber, went over to view the body, she says she discovered a complete stranger inside the casket.
"I went up to view her body. ‘No, this is not my sister.’ This is somebody we did not know. We did not know the person that was lying in the casket,” Webber said.
The family says they were certain Newman was not the one in the casket because something was missing.
"We asked them about the mole on our aunt's face. They said that they covered it up with makeup. There was no mole there, you know? And makeup couldn't cover it because it was kind of protruding out of her face,” said Newman’s niece, Suzette Walsh.
Other physical characteristics didn’t add up, the family says. For instance, Newman only had four toes on one of her feet, but the body had five.
Newman’s family says funeral home employees acknowledged something was wrong, but three days later, they still had no answers.
“At this point, we don't know where my aunt's body is. We don't know. We came here to mourn the loss of my aunt, and this is what we get and nobody is taking ownership. We don't know. Many questions, unanswered questions – that's not right,” said Newman’s niece, Marcia Durrant-Aris.
The family claims the funeral home has no idea where Newman’s body is.
“We just want to make sure that they don’t cremate this woman and act as if everything is OK,” Walsh said. “It’s not. We need to make sure that she’s at peace, and they don’t know where she is.”
Another family who had the funeral of their loved one March 2 says they have reason to believe the body they buried may have been Newman’s. They believe the funeral home swapped the bodies.
When that family confronted the funeral home’s staff, the director had no answers, they said.