“My son didn’t deserve this:” Why a Milwaukee family’s loved one has to be buried twice
MILWAUKEE (WITI) — A Milwaukee family is already in mourning after losing their loved one — but what happened at the cemetery on Monday afternoon, September 22nd has left them even more devastated. On Tuesday, September 23rd, Mark Williams’ family will bury him…for the second time.
Family members and friends of Mark Williams stood at his grave site in shock on Monday. They came to see his burial, but instead, they saw his coffin exhumed.
“He deserved better than this,” Mark Williams’ mother, Margot Williams said.
Family members and friends came to Vahalla Memorial Park Monday to bury 46-year-old Mark Williams. Williams’ mother, Margot Williams says she wanted to see her son’s casket lowered into the ground, but when she was brought to his grave site, it was too late.
“They had already buried him — put him in the ground and had dirt on him,” Margot Williams said.
Wanting assurance that it was Williams in the grave, his family asked that the casket be brought back up out of the ground. They stood around the grave in shock as the casket — dented and cracked, was pulled from the ground.
“I already had one stroke. I feel like I’m gonna have another one because this is terrible,” Margot Williams said.
The cemetery says the funeral home is to blame for the mistake. It says state law requires a funeral home director to stay with the body until it is lowered into the ground and covered with dirt. The cemetery says that didn’t happen, and the gravediggers didn’t know Williams’ family was there.
“There was just a mis-communication,” Charlene Richardson, with Banks Funeral Home said.
Richardson says the man driving the hearse came in through a cemetery side entrance and placed the casket by the grave. Around the same time, Richardson says she was greeting the family at the front entrance. She says she noticed the burial underway and ran to stop it.
“Telling them ‘no, no, no. There’s gonna be services’ — but by then it was too late,” Richardson said.
Williams’ casket was finally loaded back into the hearse by the Flying Eagles Motorcycle Club.
Williams’ family says the whole situation is unacceptable.
“I want them to know that my son didn’t deserve this,” Margot Williams said.
Williams’ family says they believe the funeral home and cemetery share the blame here.
FOX6 did some digging into the funeral home’s past and found a 2003 violation that shows the funeral home sent someone who wasn’t licensed as a funeral home director to pick up a body from the morgue.
The funeral home is paying for a new casket for Williams, and he will be buried on Tuesday.