'That's not my mother.' Family sues Amityville funeral home after burying the wrong body
A grieving family is suing an Amityville funeral home over allegations it intentionally buried the wrong body.
Sadie Williams, of Amityville, died in August at 87 years old.
The devout Muslim and the mother of 13 children had arranged her own funeral so she could be buried within 24 to 72 hours.
Her daughter, Salimah Lee, says it wasn't her mother when she went to view the body before the funeral.
"I looked over and said, 'That's not my mother.' He stood there and he said, 'Oh yeah, of course it is,'" says Lee
Lee says the man telling her she didn't recognize her own mother was Joseph Slinger, the funeral director of Joseph A. Slinger-Hasgill Funeral Services in Amityville.
"He told me the embalming fluid just smooths out the wrinkles, and it just makes the person look younger," she says.
She and her siblings reluctantly proceeded with the funeral, and the woman in the casket was buried next to Lee's father in Pinelawn Cemetery. The day after the funeral, she says Slinger called with a confession.
'He said, 'Well, I just want you to know, it wasn't your mother,'" says Lee
Lee says she went back to the funeral home to see another body. This time it was her mother.
"There she is, just laying there. Laying on a slab, completely naked. She just shouldn't have been there, she should have been in the ground with my father," says Lee.
Lee and her siblings filed a lawsuit seeking $88 million in damages.
Weeks later, the other woman's body was eventually exhumed from Pinelawn. There was a second funeral for their mother.
"I don't feel like she's at rest, because I still have nightmares," says Lee.