A state investigation is underway into two Washington funeral homes after the bodies of two elderly men were mistakenly mixed up.
"I can't believe it yet," said Helen Petitclerc, who lives in Kelso. "It just hasn't sunk in."
Helen Petitclerc said she was horrified when she learned that her husband Robert Petitclerc, who wanted to be cremated, was almost buried by another man's family in Chehalis.
Robert Petitclerc, 97, and another man, 72-year-old Jerry Moon, both died at the same Longview hospice center on Oct. 13.
"He was a wonderful man," said Helen Petitclerc. "And I miss him terribly."
The mistake was discovered when Moon's family asked to open the casket right before the burial and realized the man inside wasn't their loved one.
Moon's family now believes he was mistakenly cremated, something he always feared.
Robert Petitclerc was eventually cremated, and his ashes were delivered to his wife, Helen.
The hospice center said the mixup didn't happen at its facility.
"We have very clear procedures to identify remains for the funeral homes," said Greg Pang, chief executive officer of Community Home Health and Hospice. "And our procedures were universally followed."
A spokesperson for Brown Mortuary Service in Chehalis said she couldn't comment on the situation but said they are cooperating with the state's investigation.
Calls to the Dahl McVicker Funeral Home in Kelso weren't returned.
The state Department of Licensing said its investigation could take several weeks.
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