Wednesday, March 31, 1999

Wrong person’s body
was in casket; family
sues funeral home

By Gary T. Kubota
Star-Bulletin staff


WAILUKU -- A Lanai woman has charged she suffered mental and physical pain when she found a mortuary had delivered the wrong body for a funeral service.

Helen Tabura was expecting to see her father, Efipanio Tabura, dressed in his favorite clothes and surrounded by his favorite hats when the casket was opened on Lanai on March 6.

Instead, an unknown corpse was dressed in her father's clothes and surrounded by his favorite hats, according to a lawsuit filed in Maui Circuit Court yesterday.

The lawsuit, seeking unspecified damages against Borthwick Mortuary and others allegedly associated with the incident, said Tabura's body was shipped later from Oahu but it smelled, had a very dark color, and appeared to be melting.

The body was removed from plastic bags and his clothes were put on him in an airport hangar, the lawsuit said.

Borthwick declined to comment.

This isn't the first time a funeral mixup has been reported in the state.

In 1995, Dodo Mortuary complained that the bodies of two Big Island men were switched. One was mistakenly cremated, and the man who was supposed to be cremated was in an open-casket funeral.

E-mail to City Desk

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