The body of a trucker who died in Texas was mistakenly cremated after multiple agencies mixed him up with another dead man, a lawsuit claims.
Jose Gonzalez, a long-haul trucker from California, died at a hospital in Tarrant County in March 2020 after suddenly falling ill, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported Tuesday.
The lawsuit, filed in March, alleges Gonzalez’s body was supposed to be embalmed and transported from a Fort Worth funeral home to one in Florida.
But each agency involved in the transfer failed to verify they were sending the correct body – leading to the wrong corpse in Gonzalez’s casket at his funeral, the lawsuit claims.
Inside the coffin was actually the body of a man named Jesse Gonzalez, according to a lawsuit that names the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office and other agencies as defendants.
The suit alleges the medical examiner’s office switched the bodies of Jesse Gonzalez and Jose Gonzalez, whose organs were harvested prior to being cremated.
Jose Gonzalez’s wife, Celina, and other relatives only learned of the mix-up at his open casket funeral, according to her attorney.
“They found out that it wasn’t the correct body at the funeral, in my opinion adding to the shock value,” attorney Megan David told the newspaper. “The widow, the friends and family – they were all there.”
None of the agencies named as defendants responded to requests for comment, the Star-Telegram reported.
The family “experienced extreme emotional distress upon realizing a complete stranger, Jesse Gonzalez, was in the coffin,” according to the lawsuit, which seeks a jury trial and at least $1 million in damages.
The University of North Texas Health Science Center, one of four agencies named as defendants, cremated Gonzalez’s body after it went unclaimed, the lawsuit alleges.
“His body was cremated several weeks before they found out it was the wrong body,” David told the newspaper. “So there is obviously no way to remedy that situation.”