Mortuary Mix-Up Extends Families' Grief

The woman's husband tried to tell mortuary officials they had the wrong body, but they convinced him he was wrong.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Evans Davidson, 73, says he knew when her saw her that the woman inside the casket was not his wife of 51 years, Darlene. But officials at an Inglewood mortuary convinced him otherwise, even though he was right. Angie Crouch reports from Inglewood for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on March 11, 2013.

    An Inglewood mortuary admitted Monday it made a mistake and put a woman in the wrong casket.

    A spokesman made the admission several days after Evans Davidson, 73, complained that the woman in the casket at the viewing wasn’t his wife.

    "I was pretty certain it wasn’t my wife – unless she did some awful changing," he said.

    Officials at Simpson’s Mortuary claimed it was Darlene Davidson, his wife of 51 years, but she looked different because she was embalmed.

    "It wasn’t my wife and I knew it," Davidson said.

    A few days after the funeral, he received a call from the mortuary. An employee told him he might have been right after all because another family was now claiming a “body switch,” and his wife’s body was still at the mortuary.

    "I didn’t know what to think," he said. "Why am I going to ID a body when my wife’s supposed to be buried already?"

    Davidson said workers at the mortuary told him they had a lady "jumping up and down saying this is not her mother."

    Dr. Reginald Black, a spokesman for Simpson’s Mortuary, said they buried the wrong woman in Darlene Davidson’s grave.

    The mortuary offered to exhume the body and pay all expenses for both families to have proper funeral services.

    "We have standards and systems in place to insure as much as we can that these type of things don’t happen; however, we are human beings and we can make mistakes," Black said.

    Davidson’s attorney has asked the state Cemetery and Funeral Bureau to investigate.

    "They need to listen to family members who know best when they spot this," said Brian Witzer, Davidson’s attorney.

    He added that due diligence would have been to investigate and nip this in the bud.