MEMPHIS, Feb. 17 (UPI) -- When authorities opened what was supposed to be a man's grave in a Tennessee cemetery they found the body of a woman, officials say.
The exhumation was carried out Tuesday after a former employee of High Point Funeral Chapel in Memphis told the Tennessee Board of Funeral Directors and Examiners that the man, John G. Hughes, had been cremated by mistake, the Memphis Commercial-Appeal reported. Oliver Ewing, who worked for the funeral home as an embalmer, said the owners decided to bury Billie Sue Smith in Forest Hill Cemetery as Hughes and give his ashes to Smith's family.
The board advised Smith's family to retain a lawyer and ask a court for an exhumation order.
"Mama didn't deserve this," said Smith's daughter, Catherine McClamrock. "She was such a sweet lady. She didn't deserve this."
Smith, 78, died in June. Hughes, 64, who was in a nursing home and left no immediate family, died around the same time.
McClamrock cried when she learned the body in the grave was probably her mother's. The body will be examined to make a positive identification.
McClamrock brought the urn with what are believed to be Hughes' ashes to the cemetery and left them with employees.