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Family finds stranger's body in casket

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By The Associated Press
Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013, 9:06 p.m.

CHEHALIS, Wash. — The family of Jerry Moon wants to know how the wrong body ended up in his casket at his Washington state funeral.

Family members were horrified on Monday when they looked in the casket and saw the body of another man, The Chronicle reported on Tuesday. They hired a lawyer and asked the state Department of Licensing to investigate.

Moon, a retired railroad conductor from Castle Rock, died on Oct. 13 in Community Home, Health & Hospice in Longview at 72. Dahl McVicker Funeral Home in Kelso picked up his body the same day, and Brown Mortuary in Chehalis transported the body from there a day later.

Brown Mortuary manager Daniel LaPlaunt said the bodies of the two men were mislabeled at the Kelso funeral home. His company has changed its policy to require family identification before any services in hopes of avoiding similar problems in the future.

LaPlaunt was reluctant to blame the Kelso home and said he was speaking in hopes of countering incorrect information in news reports.

Ken Dahl, president of Dahl McVicker Funeral Home, would not comment on the case.

“In the interest of protecting the privacy of the family we're serving, we've been asked not to discuss this with anybody,” Dahl told The Associated Press.

Moon's son, Brian Moon of Chehalis, said he learned from Dahl when the mix-up was discovered that his dad had been cremated.

“My dad feared cremation and didn't want any part of it,” Moon said. “He spent a lot of time and money, and he wanted to be buried next to his father and mother.”

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