Company blamed for accidental cremation

April 2, 2009 at 12:03 PM

HOUSTON, April 2 (UPI) -- A funeral home in Houston accidentally cremated the body of a 91-year-old indigent man whose family had asked for a viewing, a county official says.

David Turkel, Harris County Community Services Department executive director, said the apparent mix-up by the Carnes Funeral Home also resulted in the company having a woman's body embalmed instead of cremated, the Houston Chronicle said Thursday.

Turkel said the funerary confusion was discovered when a mortuary school sought permission to embalm the unidentified woman's body.

An ensuing records check by Carnes employees determined the body of Fred Woods, 91, had been cremated in the woman's place.

Carnes spokesman Mike Millo offered the funeral home's deepest apologies to the family members affected by the mistake.

"An employee made a mistake and we're very sorry for the family," Millo said.

Turkel told the Chronicle he will actively investigate the funeral home's policies and procedures in the wake of the incident.

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