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Sisters' sue funeral homes after a stranger was buried in their fathers grave
Featured Image Credit: CBS2 New York

Sisters' sue funeral homes after a stranger was buried in their fathers grave

Clifford Zaner died in February, but his two daughters allege that they were given a body that wasn't his, but wearing his clothes

Two sisters have sued a pair of funeral homes for $60 million after the wrong person was allegedly buried in their father’s grave wearing his clothes.

The sisters, Stacy Holzman and Megan Zaner, were grieving after the death of their father at the age of 72, but that grief became anger when they realised that the person in his casket at the funeral bore very little resemblance to their beloved father.

Clifford Zaner had died of heart failure at his South Carolina home on 25 February, but the man who was in his coffin at the Mount Ararat Cemetery in East Farmingdale didn’t seem to be the same person they knew in life.

First off, he didn’t have a moustache, and their dad did.

Then, there was the fact that he had an autopsy scar on his head, whereas their dad had no such procedure after his death.

Clifford Zaner died in February.
CBS2 New York

Stacy explained: “There were red flags when we viewed the body, huge red flags.

“The first thing I noticed when they opened the casket was no moustache.

“Just a bare upper lip.

“And I couldn’t stop focusing on that.”

Despite raising their concerns, the sisters claim that the Star of David Memorial Chapel in West Babylon told them that everything was OK, and that they received the right body from Fletcher Funeral Service in South Carolina, the lawsuit - filed with the Suffolk County Supreme Court - states.

The family decided - partially through grief - that they would trust the funeral home and get on with the funeral.

According to Jewish custom, the funeral often takes place very soon after death, too.

So, they buried the body that they claim was not their father wearing a Led Zeppelin t-shirt, before finding out three weeks later that there had been a mix-up.

According to the lawsuit, they got a called from Fletcher Funeral Service claiming that the wrong man was in their father’s grave in Long Island, wearing his clothes.

The actual body of their father - the suit states - was sitting in a storage facility at the funeral chapel for almost a month, in violation of their Jewish tradition.

The body was set to be cremated when staff at the funeral chapel noticed that something was wrong and then confirmed that the body was that of Clifford, which was supposed to have been flown away weeks earlier, the lawsuit alleges.

The sisters were too distraught to go through another funeral, so relatives in Jacksonville volunteered to bury Clifford at another family plot there.

Clifford Zaner and his two daughters.
CBS2 New York

However, there is still another body wearing his clothes in the other grave, allegedly.

“His favorite band was Led Zeppelin and he had his favorite shirt,” Megan said.

“I just don’t know how?

“What system was not in place?

“How is this not triple-checked?”

The sisters claimed that they’ve spent nearly $30,000 on the two burials, and despite being promised a refund from the Star of David Chapel they say that they have never received one.

They have also not been told who is currently in their father’s first grave and a plaque bearing his name remains at Mount Ararat Cemetery, the lawsuit states.

In a statement, the Star of David seemed to blame Fletcher Funeral Services for the issue, writing: “We deeply regret any sorrow experienced by the family for the mistake made by the funeral home in South Carolina.

“After the family confirmed the identification of the deceased at the cemetery, the burial proceeded.

“When the funeral home in South Carolina notified us of their mistake, we took swift and decisive action to contact the family and offer whatever services needed to lessen their grief.”

Stacy says that she is still traumatised by the mix-up, saying: “I haven’t slept much since that day. Every time I close my eyes, that’s what I see.”

UNILAD has contacted Fletcher Funeral Services and Star of David Memorial Chapel for a comment.

Topics: US News, Weird