Closed casket funeral leads Mississippi family to bury wrong bod - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Closed-casket funeral leads Mississippi family to bury wrong body

Rochelle Thomas was killed in a car accident in Vicksburg, Mississippi in 2004. Rochelle Thomas was killed in a car accident in Vicksburg, Mississippi in 2004.
In November 2008, the family had the grave dug up, and DNA testing revealed they buried the wrong body. In November 2008, the family had the grave dug up, and DNA testing revealed they buried the wrong body.
Family said after Thomas' death in 2004 they had a closed casket funeral. Family said after Thomas' death in 2004 they had a closed casket funeral.

(WMC-TV) - A Mississippi family learned nine years after their loved one's burial that they buried the wrong body.

Rochelle Thomas was killed in a car accident in Vicksburg, Mississippi in 2004. Her family buried her at Heavenly Rest in Clarksdale shortly after.

Family members gathered at Tom Lee Park in her honor for a balloon release Thursday.

"Just remember her and her legacy, and this is one place that she brought us as kids. We'd come out here and fly kites on windy days," said daughter, Tjuana Kinard.

Kinard said after Thomas' death in 2004 they had a closed-casket funeral.

"We didn't bury my mother we buried a man. We're still trying to get closure on this issue ... They said her body was badly decomposed and they didn't want us to go through anything more than we had already gone through," said Kinard.

All along Thomas' mother did not feel right about the burial. In November 2008, the family had the grave dug up, and DNA testing revealed they buried the wrong body.

No one seems to have answers as to how or why this happened in the first place.

"The only thing we got was that this person wasn't 'Y'all's loved one, so it's not y'all's concern,' " said sister, Linda Jones.

In the meantime they will continue remembering Rochelle Thomas while hoping and praying for closure.

"It's very, very, very frustrating, I swear it is. Cause that was all we had," said Kinard.

The family said Royal Funeral home was responsible for the funeral, but the state was in charge of Thomas's body. While the state admits there was a mix up, they will not say much more.

Copyright 2013 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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