2 sisters say a stranger was placed in their mother’s casket during a funeral viewing in an ’embarrassing’ mix-up

Casket coffin
  • Two sisters say a stranger was inside their mother’s casket during a viewing earlier this month.
  • Jennetta Archer and Jennifer Taylor told WAVY-TV that the woman was wearing their mother’s clothes.
  • The funeral home said they apologized, but the sisters said they have yet to be contacted.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Two sisters claim that another deceased woman was in their mother’s casket during a viewing at a funeral home, in what they described as an “embarrassing” mix-up.

Jennetta Archer and Jennifer Taylor told WAVY-TV that when they approached their late mother’s casket at Hunter’s Funeral home in Ahoskie, North Carolina, a stranger was inside wearing her clothing.

“The deceased person that was wearing the clothes that we had just purchased for our mother was not our mother,” Archer told Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald in an emailed statement. “Hunter’s Funeral Home had prepared another deceased person and presented them to us for viewing.”

In August, the two lost their mother, Mary Archer, and the service was held on September 7. The sisters said when they confronted the funeral home about the mix-up, the funeral home initially denied it, according to the Associated Press.

“For this to play out like that, it’s just embarrassing,” Taylor told WAVY-TV. The staff was able to switch the bodies, and the service began.

Hunter’s Funeral Home did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment, but told local news outlets they apologized for the mishap. But, as the News-Herald reported, the sisters say the funeral home did not contact them regarding the “egregious error.”

An employee of the funeral home who took responsibility for the incident told the newspaper that the mistake happened because the caskets of the two women were the same color.

“I dressed the one I thought was Mrs. Archer and then found out it was the wrong person when the family arrived for the private viewing,” F. Garry Lewter told the News-Herald.

Lewter continued: “At that point, I prepared Mrs. Archer in the dress the family had provided and presented her to her family,” according to the report.