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Family Finds Wrong Body In Casket

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A grieving Tennessee family was shocked when they visited their uncle's body at a Chattanooga funeral home only to find the casket contained a different person's body.

"I said, 'This ain't my uncle,'" Willie Brown told WRCB. "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."

According to Willie, his uncle, Benjamin Brown Jr., had been a double amputee, but the man inside of the casket was not.

"Open up the casket, if this guy has legs, that's not my uncle," Willie's brother, Dominique, had told employees, according to WTVC. "Open the casket, you see legs and nice slacks."

Benjamin had died from diabetes complications about a week before Willie and Dominique, went to visit their uncle's body at the John P. Franklin Funeral Home on Nov. 15, reports The Chattanoogan.

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"The man was like, 'Well, let's open the bottom of the casket," recounted Willie. "So the funeral director opened the bottom of the casket and when he opened the bottom of the casket, he [gasped], and he slammed the casket and said, 'Y'all get out.'"

Willie says his family was told they needed to leave so the funeral home could find Benjamin's remains. Benjamin's body was found at the morgue and was brought to the funeral home after around 30 minutes.

According to Willie, the shock of the incident made Benjamin's death even harder on his family.

"The suit we bought my uncle to get buried in they had put it on the other guy," he recalled. "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."

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

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

Benjamin's funeral service was set for Nov. 16, and the family said they plan to follow the hearse carrying his body to ensure no further mistakes are made.

"Certainly, we are sorry that this matter has been made public during this family's time of grief," said the funeral home in a statement. "We have been in communication with the members of the family who are directly responsible for the arrangements, and we are committed to resolve any issues they may have."

"We feel real disrespected," Dominique said. "There's nothing they can do to fix the problem."

Another family member, Jasmine Mateen, had used the John P. Franklin Funeral Home after her daughter Zyaira was killed in a bus crash in November 2016.

"I feel like with all this going on, they should be more sentimental with the fact of what's surrounding and what our family is going through," Mateen said. "We already have the one-year anniversary."

The family is reportedly talking with lawyers to determine what they will do next.

Sources: WTVC, WRCB via WBIR, The Chattanoogan / Featured Image: Will/Flickr / Embedded Images: Brown Family via WTVC

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