Wrong body arrives to family on Delta Air Lines

May 6, 2013 2:45:12 PM PDT
A father was hit and killed and when it came time for his burial, his family and friends had quite the surprise inside the coffin because it wasn't him.

The man's family wants to know how this could happen.

"He's resting, but not at peace," said Josette Cerutti, the victim's friend.

Josette Cerutti still can't believe it.

Coping with the sudden death of her friend, Stanley Williams, was tough enough.

But when Delta Air Lines shipped the wrong casket for burial in Virginia, it was too much.

"It's hard enough that you have to bury one of your loved ones and then to find out that the airline screwed up and prolonged the process, it's crazy, it's unbelievable," Cerutti said.

The funeral director in New York wrote Williams' name and flight information on the shipping container, known as an "Airtray".

But shipping clerks at Delta Air Lines at LaGuardia apparently slapped on the wrong shipping label.

That sent someone else's casket to Mr. Williams' family.

"It says to me that the workers at LaGuardia Airport have a very laissez-faire attitude when it comes to dealing with human remains because they took the wrong paperwork and they put it on the wrong airtray which never should have happened because the name of the deceased and everything was written on the airtray," said Keith Davis, Griffin-Peters Funeral Home.

"Delta deeply regrets this unfortunate situation," said a spokesman. "We are investigating the matter and will work closely with the family during this difficult time."

Stanley Williams was 50-years-old and was struck and killed last week while trying to cross the Harlem River Drive on foot.

It's a tragedy that's all the more upsetting because he had just begun to reconnect with his 11-year-old son, after being estranged from the boy's mother.

"He would come visit him, they would spend time together, he would take him out, keep him over the weekend, he was establishing, he was reconnecting with him," Cerutti said.