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Woman buried in other person's funeral in body mix-up, suit says

May 16, 2012 | 11:56 am

When Adilia Rodriguez died, her children said she left them with specific wishes: She wanted a closed casket during her funeral, and refused to be buried in the ground of a Southern California cemetery. Instead, she asked to be interred above ground in her hometown in Nicaragua, as is tradition there.

It didn’t happen that way.

Now, months after her death, Rodriguez’s family filed suit Wednesday against Rose Hills Memorial Park and Mortuary, alleging that the funeral home confused her with another woman.

The family claims that the funeral home failed to realize that Rodriguez went through the other woman's funeral. Rodriguez, her family said, was placed in an open casket, dressed in the other women’s clothing and buried in the woman’s cemetery plot. 

“It was sacrilege what they did to her,” Marielena Covarrubias, Rodriguez's daughter, said in an interview with The Times. “They violated her wishes.”

Calls to Rose Hills officials early Wednesday were not immediately returned.

Rodriguez, who was 87, had outlined her plans years before her death, her children said, even before a decline in her health in recent years.

"She didn’t want to be a burden to her family,” Covarrubias said.

The family said the funeral home had refunded them for the funeral insurance they had purchased after the incident. The breach-of-contract suit is seeking pain and suffering and punitive damages, according to the lawsuit.

Rodriguez’s body has since been exhumed and interred in Nicaragua, as her family said she had wished.

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--Rick Rojas and Andrew Blankstein

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