Local family finds stranger's body in casket at visitation - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

3 ON YOUR SIDE

Local family finds stranger's body in casket at visitation

Posted: Updated:
File photo provided by MGN Online. File photo provided by MGN Online.
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

A family wants answers after a mix-up at a Chattanooga funeral home.

Wednesday, the family gathered to say their final goodbyes to a loved one only to find another man in his place.

Benjamin Brown Jr. passed away last week from an illness. His nephews say that loss was difficult on its own, but a mistake by John P. Franklin Funeral Home made it harder on their family.

Willie Brown and his brother Dominique say they were first to notice something wasn't right when friends and family gathered for visitation Wednesday afternoon.

“I said, ‘this ain't my uncle,’” Willie says. “So, everybody around was like, ‘that's your uncle, that's your uncle, it's just the makeup’ and I'm just saying I know my uncle and this is not my uncle.”

Willie says his uncle was a double-amputee. The man placed in his uncle's casket was not.

“The man was like, ‘well let’s open the bottom of the casket,’” Willie recalls. “So, the funeral director opened the bottom of the casket and when he opened the bottom of the casket he was like (gasp) and he slammed the casket and said, ‘y'all get out.’”

Willie says his family was told to leave so the funeral home staff could look for his uncle’s body. He says the body was located at the morgue and brought to the funeral home 30 minutes later.

“The suit we bought my uncle to get buried in they had put it on the other guy,” Willie says. “So, we had to wait for them to take the clothes off this dead man and put it on my uncle so my uncle could get buried in his own clothes.”

“They've been saying it's their mistake,” Dominique says. “They're still apologizing. They don't know what to do right now.”

The funeral home sent the following statement to Channel 3:

As the family prepares to lay their loved one to rest, they say they want an explanation and assurance no other family has to go through this.

“What if we would have had a closed casket, we could have sent this man to the grave,” Willie says. “We could've buried someone else's loved one and they wouldn't have never known.”

The family tells Channel 3, the funeral service is still set for Thursday.

They plan to follow their uncle's hearse to make sure their wishes are carried out.

WEEKLY CIRCULARS
  • NewsMore>>

  • Man protects daughter from tree crashing into home

    Man protects daughter from tree crashing into home

    Monday, April 23 2018 1:38 PM EDT2018-04-23 17:38:13 GMT
    John EvansJohn Evans
    John EvansJohn Evans
    Storms are moving out of North Georgia, but Sunday night the strong winds and heavy rain uprooted a tree, knocked it over and narrowly missed crushing a home.More
    Storms are moving out of North Georgia, but Sunday night the strong winds and heavy rain uprooted a tree, knocked it over and narrowly missed crushing a home.More
  • 'It was life or death,' says man who snatched gunman's AR-15

    'It was life or death,' says man who snatched gunman's AR-15

    Sunday, April 22 2018 11:15 PM EDT2018-04-23 03:15:12 GMT
    Monday, April 23 2018 1:37 PM EDT2018-04-23 17:37:48 GMT
    (Larry McCormack/The Tennessean via AP). James Shaw Jr., shows his hand that was injured when he disarmed a shooter inside a Waffle House on Sunday, April 22, 2018, in Nashville, Tenn.   A gunman stormed the Waffle House restaurant and shot several peo...(Larry McCormack/The Tennessean via AP). James Shaw Jr., shows his hand that was injured when he disarmed a shooter inside a Waffle House on Sunday, April 22, 2018, in Nashville, Tenn. A gunman stormed the Waffle House restaurant and shot several peo...
    The man who wrestled the gun away from the Nashville's Waffle House shooting suspect says he decided if he was to die, gunman would "have to work to kill me.".More
    The man who wrestled the gun away from the Nashville's Waffle House shooting suspect says he decided if he was to die, gunman would "have to work to kill me.".More
  • The world's unluckiest traveler

    The world's unluckiest traveler

    Monday, April 23 2018 12:33 PM EDT2018-04-23 16:33:13 GMT
    While sleeping one night, a bear showed up at his campsite.More
    While sleeping one night, a bear showed up at his campsite.More
Powered by Frankly