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Family members of an 85-year-old New Jersey woman who died last year have filed suit against the funeral home handling the arrangements, claiming the wrong body was placed in the casket.
Josephine Struble, of Sussex County, died Dec. 28, 2021, at a rehabilitation and nursing center in Dover. The next day, her son and daughter contacted the F. John Ramsey Funeral Home of Franklin for arrangements and provided workers with Struble’s clothes and jewelry, according to the suit filed Sept. 13 in Superior Court in Sussex County.
On the day of the services on Jan. 4, Struble’s grandson was the first to approach the open casket and was “appalled” to see a different person, according to the suit.
“To twist the knife, (the woman’s daughter) noticed her mother’s jewelry on the unidentified corpse,” the suit alleges, adding the daughter immediately sought out the funeral director to find out where her mother’s body was.
The lawsuit states several family members saw the wrong corpse in the coffin and were devastated. “(A manager) finally instructed decedent’s family to exit the room,” the lawsuit says.
After about a half hour, the manager directed the family back into the viewing room, only to find Struble in the casket but “disheveled and bruised,” the suit alleges.
The funeral home did not immediately respond Tuesday to requests for comment on the allegations contained in the family’s lawsuit.
In their negligence complaint, Struble’s children allege mishandling of human remains, emotional distress and breach of contract.
“The plaintiffs have been denied their right to grieve the death of their late loved one and, further, have been forced to endure severe and ongoing emotional distress,” the suit states.
The suit seeks a jury trial and an award of monetary damages.
Anthony G. Attrino may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @TonyAttrino. Find NJ.com on Facebook.
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