A family received a wrong body after their mother died on vacation in the Caribbean. Lisa Kondvar’s mother died while she was with the family on a St. Maarten vacation and her body was sent to a funeral home in New Jersey for the funeral services, according to CNN News on Jan. 12.
Her 82-year-old mother started to feel light headed and suddenly died. Her body was transferred from the hospital in St. Maartins to a funeral home on the island.
The funeral director told the family to send a $7,000 wire transfer and they would ship her mother’s body to the funeral home in New Jersey. The day of her mother’s wake, her mother’s body, who was a petite blonde, was not in the open coffin. A tall brunette woman was in the coffin. The family was shipped the wrong body.
The woman in the casket was dressed in the clothes the family had provided the funeral home in St. Maarten and was accompanied by her passport and death certificate that belonged to her mother. They had also supplied those items to the funeral home on the island. Inside the casket was a small red velvet pouch contained jewelry and items that did not belong to her mother.
Kondvar said that the funeral director, who was not willing to do business unless it was through a wire transfer was a red flag. Not having any other option, this is what they had to do. Endless phone calls to both the hospital and the funeral director over the weekend were not returned.
At wits end wanting to know where her mother’s body was Kondvar contacted U.S. Senator Jack Reed, who is the senator for the state she lives in, Rhode Island. He contacted the U.S. consulate to arrange for her mother’s body to be accompanied back home. Unfortunately it appears that her mother’s body was sent to Canada, to the family who’s loved one was in the casket that Kondvar had gotten by mistake.
To make matters worse, the family in Canada cremated the body that they received, so it is very possible her mother was cremated. Kondvar wants her mother’s ashes if that is the case. She doesn’t blame the family in Canada because they are grieving also and it wasn’t their fault that they received the wrong body. Now they are waiting for the DNA to come back to find out.
Apparently two women, one American, who was Kondvar’s mother and one Canadian died on the same day in St. Maarten and flown to America on the same airline. The body that was sent to the Kondvar family has since been flown to Canada and cremated.
Both families have filed complaints with the authorities.