Staten Island Cemetery Buries Remains In Wrong Grave, Family Sues

| by Brendan Kelly

A Brooklyn woman thought she was burying her father at his funeral, but just before it was too late, she noticed a note on the casket and knew something was wrong.

A casket that was supposedly holding the remains of Grigoriy Gutnikov was being lowered into his grave on Staten Island in April 2014, but before it was completely lowered, his daughter Jenny Gutnick noticed a Post-it note on the coffin with a woman's name.

Gutnick alerted family members and immediately stopped the proceedings.

The family is Orthodox Jewish, so the rabbi was hesitant to open the casket to check because Jewish law forbids it.

The rabbi reluctantly allowed Jenny to open the coffin. When she looked inside, she was shocked and disturbed to find a woman's body in place of what should have been her father's remains.

The family wondered where Gutnikov's remains actually were and frantically began searching.

Cemetery works led mourners to a freshly-filled grave in another part of the cemetery after three hours of searching. They realized that Gutnick's father had been mistakenly buried in the grave of the woman who was nearly buried in his grave.

Cemetery workers brought a forklift to dig up Gutnikov's coffin. Switching the caskets to their correct respective plots took six hours.

Gutnick is suing the Mount Richmond Cemetery and Capitol Funeral Service. 

The funeral home offered Gutnick a free plot to be "used for her own remains" as compensation for their mistake.

Sources: NY Post, CBS New York / Photo Credit: NY Post