Halifax Co, VA - Stanley Williams was killed in a car accident in New York City last week, and his body was to be flown back here. The funeral home, however, received a different body.
Delta Airlines officials are investigating how Williams's body was switched with another while being transferred to a connecting flight in Atlanta.
For Williams' family, the mistake is hard to accept.
Stanley Williams was living in New York City, spending time with his 11-year-old-son, when his life was cut short last Wednesday. His family members in Halifax County declined to comment, but funeral director Willis Dunn says they were devastated when they found out about the tragic mistake.
"They were very, very grief stricken simply because of the manor in which Mr. Williams had passed on and they did indicate that this is just a double tragedy," Dunn said.
After retrieving the body at Raleigh-Durham International Airport, funeral home workers saw that the paperwork and toe tag included with the body were incorrect.
Dunn contacted Delta Airlines and learned that Williams' remains did not make it on to a connecting flight in Atlanta. They returned the body they had received and were later given the correct remains.
"Mr. Williams did not get back to Raleigh-Durham until about 8 that afternoon, meaning we had to postpone the funeral service to another day," Dunn said.
Dunn says after more than 30 years in business, he has never seen this happen, but he has found that such mix-ups have happened to other families over the years.
"We're all human and humans do make mistakes. My condolences and my heartfelt sympathy go out to the families, not only to the Williams' family, but other families that do encounter these problems," Dunn said.
Dunn says now he just hopes that the family of Stanley Williams, both local and out-of-state, can breathe a sigh of relief now that their loved one has made it to his final resting place.
Dunn was unsure whether or not the family is planning to take action against the airline.
Delta officials say they are investigating the matter.