Funerals are a sad enough occasions, but it is tragic when certain mishaps go on. In South Philadelphia, a funeral was suppose to take place Tuesday for Kenneth Monroe Roberts, but the family would come to realize the fact that they body inside the casket was not Roberts and had been mixed up with another man.
Roberts was 80-years-old and was an army veteran. His funeral was set to take place at Tindley Temple United Methodist Church on South Broad Street.
The horrifying part to the story is that the funeral home tried to assure the family that the body was actually their loved one, although anyone should easily be able to recognize someone that they’ve known for a lifetime.
“They kept trying to tell us that it was him and I knew it wasn’t him,” the wife of Kenneth Roberts, Janin Holsey, said in an interview with ABC 6 Action News.
Something seemed awry on Monday as family members had initially came to view the body and had noticed that something seemed wrong as they addressed their concerns with the funeral directors.
“I told them it wasn’t my grandpop; all his grandkids came in here and said that’s not their grandpop. We know what my grandpop looked like, that wasn’t him,” granddaughter Kenayah Cerban said.
Arrangements for the funeral were handled by the funeral home of James Hawkins located at 17th and Federal Streets and the error was finally recognized on the day of the funeral right before the service actually commenced. Even more dirt was thrown onto the situation once the mistake was announced in the service as the family went into a rampage over the incident and had to wait an hour and a half until Roberts’ body actually arrived.
Roberts was, however, face down in the casket and his body was partially hanging out of it. Reactions ranged from a man suffering a seizure to a woman having an asthma attack. The continued madness resulted in the funeral being cancelled.
On the other side of town at the Francis Funeral Home in Southwest Philadelphia, a family dealt with the same issue when they viewed Roberts in the casket and not the body they were meant to mourn. Claire Beverly and her sister were going to lay their father, Charles, to rest when they realized the mix-up and have stated that an apology is necessary.
The funeral homes are owned by Frankie Francis as embalming is performed at the funeral home then taken to the service. No statements or explanations have been released from the funeral home as repeated calls have been unanswered.