At first, the funeral home said there was nothing wrong and tried convincing the daughters that the body was actually their mother's.
Two sisters were already in a state of grief as they were reeling from the loss of their beloved mother. But they found their heartache compounded when they could not even tell where their mother's body was for a while because of a horrible mixup.
The two sisters, Jennetta Archer, and Jennifer Taylor arrived at the Hunter’s Funeral Home for their mother's viewing in Ahoskie, North Carolina, on September 7, 2021. However, when they opened their mother's casket, they could not even recognize the dead body inside.
Both the sisters could tell that the woman, whom they had never met before, was dressed in their mother's clothes, according to New York Post. But it was clear to them that the body did not belong to their mother, Mary Archer.
What was even more strange was that the staff at the funeral home tried to convince them that the person, lying lifeless in the casket, was actually their mother. "We just couldn’t understand how this could happen," Jennifer told 10 On Your Side. As they peered into the casket, it was an obvious mistake to the sisters because even the clothes seemed far too loose for the woman's body.
"There’s no similarity in the person," said Jennetta. "Their size was way off. When the first person had the clothing on, she was swimming in the clothes because she was so small compared to my mother."
Without wasting any time, Jennetta and Jennifer informed the staff at the Hunter’s Funeral Home that it was not the body of their mother lying in the casket. At first, the staff denied any mistake on their part, but when they later went to the funeral home's embalming room, they found Mary Archer's body still lying there.
"For this to play out like that, it’s just embarrassing," Jennifer added.
Finally, the staff switched the two bodies, and the correct corpse was placed in the casket before the service began. Despite the error being rectified, Jennetta and Jennifer believe that the distressing blunder was not properly addressed.
“No one addressed it immediately," said Jennetta. "It would have been a different situation if they had just come upfront and addressed it immediately to show that yes, they did, they made an error."
The sisters also maintain that they did not receive a proper apology or a phone call from the funeral home after the incident.
"What do you do to prevent something like that from happening?" said Jennetta, questioning the actions of the funeral home. "Don’t they have a chart per person and treat them like a customer or a patient or whatever you want to refer to them as so that you don’t have them mixed up?"
When 10 On Your Side got in touch with the funeral home, they were told by the staff that it was no honest mistake. The funeral home also claimed that they apologized to the sisters and added that this was the first incident of its kind to have taken place at the Hunter’s Funeral Home in 40 years.
Cover image source: Hunter's Funeral Home