Bizarre airport mix-up causes wrong body to show up at SC funera - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Columbia funeral home receives wrong body

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

He spent much of his life in New York state, but at heart, Purdy Walker was always a South Carolina kind of guy.

Unfortunately, at 68 years old, Walker would lose a battle with cancer. He had one but one last request: to be buried in the Palmetto State.

But getting back home turned into something Walker's family didn't believe could happen.

Latasha Crumpton, Walker's niece, says her uncle's body was supposed to be flown from New York to Columbia. Only that didn't quite happen, according to the funeral home director.

"When he said it was a body switched, I just couldn't believe it," Crumpton said. "I've never heard of that before. Never. And actually he said, in all of his years doing this, he's never had this happen before ever." 

Crumpton says the body of Stanley Williams ended up at the funeral home instead of her uncle.

"We were pretty shocked," said Crumpton.

Crumpton was told both Williams and her uncle were flown on Delta Airlines from the same funeral home in New York. When they arrived in Atlanta, Walker was supposed to go to Columbia and Williams to Raleigh. Crumpton says that's when the mix-up happened.

"He was suffering with cancer and he had already been through a lot," said Crumpton. "To have his body switched like that was just hard for our whole family."

Luckily, Walker was flown from Raleigh to Charleston and then driven to Sumter just in time for the funeral.

"We didn't get to view the body -- there was no wake," said Crumpton. "We actually saw the body when everyone else saw it at the funeral."

Crumpton says the family is waiting on an apology from Delta.

"Why would they contact one family and not the other? We were suffering just as much as the other family was," said Crumpton. "Not to get a call is just pretty hard to deal with."

The spokesman for the funeral home in New York says the bodies were properly marked before they were sent to the airport.

Delta Airlines has told other media outlets it is investigating how the mix-up happened and is working with the other family. We have not yet had our call returned.

Copyright 2013 WIS. All rights reserved.

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