Funeral home buries wrong baby in mix-up

July 19, 2012 4:06:15 PM PDT
A family trying to cope with the pain of losing a child at birth held a funeral, only to find out later they said tearful goodbyes to the wrong baby.

The family says the anguish and heartbreak they experienced after losing a child has been compounded by the shocking mix-up. The family was looking for closure and healing when they held a service at Brookside funeral home.

Mercedez Uscanga and her boyfriend Robert Mares say they're very emotional and stressed right now. The grieving young couple says Brookside funeral home holds a major part of the blame.

"Well, we thought my baby was getting buried and they buried the wrong baby," Mercedes said

The young parents gave birth to their first son, Armani Angel Mares, two weeks ago. Sadly, their baby was still born.

The family held an emotional memorial service for the child at Brookside Memorial Park last Saturday. They say the funeral directors called with more devastating news.

"They called and told us that my baby is still at the funeral home," Mercedez said.

Grandfather George Uscanga said, "I'm speechless. I'm speechless."

The family says they found out the baby that was buried belonged to someone else. Their own child was still in the morgue.

"It's sad," Mercedez said. "We were crying for our baby. And we didn't even know. We thought that our baby was the baby that was supposed to be in the casket."

I made a call to Brookside Memorial Park to find out how this mix-up could happen. They provided the following statement:

    "We are working closely with the families affected to resolve this situation to their satisfaction and continue to do so. Out of respect for the privacy of the families, it would be inappropriate to release any details. However, I will say that our associates are well trained and dedicated to the highest standards of ethics and professionalism in our work. Our staff strives to serve our families with the highest level of care and compassion. We have policies and procedures in place, however occasionally mistakes happen. In those instances, we maintain full disclosure with the families. Brookside Memorial Park has been proudly serving Houston families for more than 75 years. This is our home, and the people we serve are our neighbors, our friends and our own families. If families have any questions about personal matters with any of our properties, we will be happy to review the details of their records at any time."

    Jessica S. McDunn, Service Corporation International

"I'm still in shock," Mercedez said. "I didn't know what to do. I didn't know what to say."

The couple made arrangements for another funeral home to pick up their baby Thursday afternoon. They are working with an attorney and plan to ask the state to investigate this disturbing mix-up.

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