LONG ISLAND - A Long Island family's grief turned to anger after a local funeral home presiding over the burial of their father -- buried the wrong body.
His daughters had his body sent from Fletcher Funeral and Cremation Service in South Carolina to the Star of David Memorial Chapel on Long Island. Just before the burial, Stacy Holzman and Megan Zaner asked to see their dad one last time.
The man inside the coffin was not their dad. From the face to the body, to the feet -- they didn't recognize the stranger laying there. They told the Long Island funeral home, but say their concerns were dismissed.
"I said it while we were there," said Stacy Holzman. "I said I don't recognize him. The last memory of my father is that I don't recognize him."
It was in fact the wrong body. The funeral home in South Carolina realized their mistake after the stranger had been buried in their father's favorite t-shirt and in the family plot on Long Island.
"I just feel so wronged," Megan Zaner said." You trust these people. You don't know what you're doing, this doesn't happen every day. We lose our dad once in our life."
Through tears Stacy and Megan planned and paid for a second funeral. The funeral home in South Carolina apologized. They say the Star of David still has not refunded them for the funeral.
FOX 5 reached out and in a partial statement, Star of David said, "After the family confirmed the identification of the deceased at the cemetery, the burial proceeded… We are reviewing all our protocols and will make any recommended changes to ensure the correct identification of family members."
Fletcher Funeral and Cremation Service did not respond to our request for comment.
With the help of Attorney Phil Rizzuto, the sisters intend on suing both funeral homes for $60 million in damages.
"I want them to take responsibility for this horrible mistake. And I do want things put in place in the future, which I think should have been there, from happening to anybody else," said Megan Zaner.
Star of David Memorial Chapel's full statement:
"We deeply regret any sorrow experienced by the family for the mistake made by the funeral home in South Carolina. After the family confirmed the identification of the deceased at the cemetery, the burial proceeded. When the funeral home in South Carolina notified us of their mistake, we took swift and decisive action to contact the family and offer whatever services needed to lessen their grief. Families are under a great deal of stress when they identify their deceased. We are reviewing all our protocols and will make any recommended changes to ensure the correct identification of family members. We are committed to continuing to provide the highest level of compassion and care to families who have entrusted us with their loved ones."