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NJ funeral home faces $50 million lawsuit after mixing bodies

A grieving family’s last memory of their matriarch is one of shock and horror, NJ.com reports. The Kim family announced a $50 million lawsuit Tuesday against a New Jersey funeral home that placed a different body in their family member’s casket, only realizing the mistake during the actual funeral. 

Kyung Ja Kim, who died at the age of 93 last November, had her body mixed up with Whaja Kim, who died at age 70, Daily Mail reports. Funeral home director Haemin Gina Chong  interrupted Kyung Ja’s ceremony as the family was tossing dirt onto her casket. 

 “People just saw me collapsing down,” Kummi Kim, the deceased’s daughter said, ABC reports. “No one was really sure what was going and they figured it out when I collapsed.”

Kummi had raised concerns over a possible mixup when she visited her mother’s body prior to the funeral, according to Daily Mail. Chong, who works for the Central Funeral Home of New Jersey and the Blackley Funeral Home and Cremation Services, dismissed her concerns, noting that Kyung Ja’s strangely youthful appearance was a result of the embalming process. 

According to Daily Mail, Chong contacted the Kim family and offered an urgent service for the next day. Despite the family wishes, the funeral was held at the funeral home instead of the church Kyung Ja attended, due to time constrictions. 

“My mother lived a long life and she wanted her funeral to be a celebration,” Kummi said Tuesday, NJ.com reports. “Her last wish was that everything would be at the church, the proper way. So I feel very guilty that we couldn’t give her her final wish.”

The Kim family are not the only victims, ABC reports. Whaja Kim’s family was unable to hold an open casket funeral, as time delays had caused the deceased to decay. 

“We are really two victims,” Kummi said, according to ABC. “Not only my mom but the other victim.” 

The lawsuit cites breach of contract, negligence, emotional distress, and battery, Daily Mail reports. According to the Kim Family, any money won will be donated to Kyung Ja’s church.. 

The event still leaves a scar, Kummi said. 

“It our last memory of her,” Kummi said, NJ.com reports. “But now we cannot erase it.” 

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