Society

Chicago Family Upset After Funeral Home Mix-Up

| by Jonathan Constante
picture of Ella Mae Rutledgepicture of Ella Mae Rutledge

A grieving Chicago family was shocked when they went to a funeral and realized the body inside the casket was not their mother.

Monique Williams went to Leak and Sons Funeral Home to approve her mother’s body for visitation prior to the funeral on Oct. 31, CBS reported. But when she looked at the body, she quickly realized the woman in the casket was not Ella Mae Rutledge.

“Me and my brother say, ‘Dang! That don’t look nothing like Mom!’” Williams told CBS.

Williams said she became suspicious after she noticed the woman’s long nails. She said her mother always kept her nails short.

Popular Video

This judge looked an inmate square in the eyes and did something that left the entire courtroom in tears:

Popular Video

This judge looked an inmate square in the eyes and did something that left the entire courtroom in tears:

“The wig that I brought for her, I pulled it back,” Williams said. “This lady got black hair. My mother has gray hair. I said, ‘Oh, no.’”

Williams was taken to the preparation room and was shown three other deceased women. None of them was her mother.

“I can’t even grieve,” she said.

It was later discovered that Williams’ mother had already been buried by another family at Mount Hope Cemetery the day before.

“They 100 percent identified the person that they buried, on yesterday, as their mother,” Williams said. “‘You all done lost my mother.’”

The family allowed Rutledge to be exhumed. Her body is now back at the funeral home.

“Out of respect for both families, we have no comment at this time,” Leak and Sons Funeral Home said in a statement. “We plan to have the situation rectified in the coming days.”

Williams, who said she plans on taking legal action, said the damage is done.

“We're not having another funeral or homecoming ceremony,” Williams told the Chicago Tribune. “This was too much. My father is totally distraught. He and my mother bought a prepaid policy a long time ago, but after this, he told me, ‘No way in hell let my body go there when I die.’”

Sources: CBS, The Chicago Tribune / Photo Credit: CBS, Buzz Orr/Chicago Tribune