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'I didn't recognize who was in the casket.' 2 sisters say wrong man was buried in family plot meant for their recently deceased dad

The sisters say are now suing Star of David Memorial Chapel and Fletcher Funeral and Creation Service in South Carolina for $60 million. They say they want an apology, for the companies to admit they made a mistake and for quality controls to be put in place so nothing like this happens again.

News 12 Staff

Jul 19, 2023, 2:14 AM

Updated 334 days ago

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Two sisters say they are angry, and grief stricken after the wrong man was buried in a family plot that was meant for their recently deceased father.
Stacy Holzman and Megan Zaner says their father Clifford Zaner died in February while in a South Carolina hospital. He was supposed to be buried at Mount Ararat Cemetery in Lindenhurst.
Holzman says right before they were about to bury their father, they opened the casket and immediately knew something was wrong.
"I freaked out," Holzman says. "I don't, I didn't recognize who was in the casket."
Holzman and Zaner say their father always had a mustache, and the person they saw in the casket was clean shaven and had a scar across his head that looked like stitches.
Holzman says the funeral director was dismissive and said that what she was experiencing was standard if somebody dies in a hospital.
She says the service was stopped and a representative with Star of David Memorial Chapel and Fletcher Funeral and Creation Service assured her it was their father in the casket and wearing his favorite Led Zeppelin T-shirt that he wanted to be buried in.
However, Uniondale-based attorney Phil Rizzuto says eventually the funeral home in South Carolina admitted that Clifford Zaner was not the person whose body had been shipped to New York in the casket.
"The funeral home in South Carolina was very apologetic to the family, they admitted they made a mistake," Rizzuto says. "Representatives from Star of David said, 'We did nothing wrong; it was all the fault of the funeral home in South Carolina."
The sisters say are now suing Star of David Memorial Chapel and Fletcher Funeral and Creation Service for $60 million. They say they want an apology, for the companies to admit they made a mistake and for quality controls to be put in place so nothing like this happens again.
"It never crosses your mind that they're giving you the wrong body, it's not your loved one," Holzman says.
News 12 reached out to Star of David Chapel and the person who answered the phone said, "I'm sorry we don't know anything about that," and then hung up.
The director of the funeral home in South Carolina told News 12 he would speak to his lawyer and then get back to us. News 12 has not heard back as of 10 p.m. Tuesday.


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