A funeral services director, Chavin Thompson, said an incorrect image on a casket caused the sudden postponement of a burial last week Friday at Ewarton Cemetery in St. Catherine.
The burial was to be held for 20-year-old David Walker, otherwise called ‘Victor’, from Clarke’s Avenue in Ewarton.
The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) had stated that, on May 4, a mob chopped and killed Walker at Pedro River in St. Ann shortly after he, along with other men, allegedly stole goats in the Kellits area of Clarendon.
The bereaved family’s pain intensified last week Friday, July 2, when the burial of Walker was scheduled to be held, but didn’t happen.
Mourners, who waited hours, returned to their homes in disappointment when it became clear that the body would not be brought to the community.
Relatives of the deceased claimed that, while they were busy trying to get answers amid the chaos, the funeral director repeatedly told them that he was on his way with the body.
He later stopped answering his phone.
“A lot of people came to pay their last respect,” one Ewarton resident told The Beacon. “But the people were left running between the cemetery and the guy’s home on Clarke’s Avenue. Every time they heard that the body is at the cemetery, they run there, only to find out it was not there.”
A spokesperson for the bereaved family stated that the situation has left the family traumatized.
“We don’t owe the funeral home; we don’t owe them a dollar,” she noted. “It is just an unfortunate situation that caught us, and I am dealing with it as best as we can.”
The family, which stated that plans are being made to have Walker buried this week, said it has managed to confirm that the body was never missing.
It also disclosed that the matter has been reported to the Jamaica Constabulary Force.
In the meantime, the funeral director, Thompson, said the police contacted him on the weekend in relation to what transpired.
He also claimed that some of his relatives, who live in the Linstead area of St. Catherine, have been receiving death threats. “I do have my family in Linstead, and my family are threatened… It is not their fault; it is my fault. People saying that, if they can’t find me, they going to kill my relatives,” Thompson added.
He explained that, hours before the planned burial, he was left in a tailspin after he realized that the image of another person was on Walker’s casket.
“It is not the [bereaved] family’s fault; it is my fault and the casket-man fault… I just never know how to explain it to the family members [on the burial day]. Whenever the relatives called me, I keep telling them I was on my way [for the burial]; I was trying to get things done as fast as possible…” said the 29-year-old.
He continued: “All funeral directors really make mistakes like that – and bigger mistakes too. However, I am glad this mistake didn’t explode as big as possible… I am now working on the apology [for the family].”
Thompson, who said he has been a funeral director for seven years, also stated that Walker’s family paid him $150,000 for his services. He noted that postponement of the burial had nothing to do with money.
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