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Wrong body at funeral, buried in grave

WICHITA FALLS, Texas, May 6 (UPI) -- A Texas funeral home said an error in communication led to a body going to the wrong memorial service and being buried in someone else's grave.

Rick Shaffer, director at the Falls Funeral Home and Cremation Center in Wichita Falls, said he had been showing the family of Sylvia Wallace a casket meant for a funeral later in the day about three weeks ago and he then told an employee to prepare the casket for the funeral, the Wichita Falls Times Record News reported Friday.

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"I said, 'Get that pink casket out and get her ready and get her in that casket,'" he said. "And he was thinking for some reason that I was talking about Mrs. Wallace. But I was talking about the other woman."

Shaffer said Wallace's body was in the casket during the funeral and was buried at the woman's grave site. He said the mistake was discovered and the body was exhumed and replaced with the correct remains six days later.

The funeral director said a family member of the woman who was supposed to be buried was understanding about the situation.

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"He said he understood the mistake and said, 'Let's just get it corrected and move on,'" Shaffer said.

However, Wallace's son, James Elser, was upset to see his mother's body once it was recovered.

"She just didn't look good at all," Elser said. "I wondered if they even embalmed her. It looked like they didn't. I mean, it was a really, really tough sight to see my mom, an angel, look like that after being buried in the ground for six days."

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