Parents say they buried wrong body

February 21, 2024

When Toni-Ann Alexander saw the body of a young boy in a glass casket on Saturday, she instantly determined that it was not her 11-year-old son, O'Brien Gooden.

She immediately made her reservations known. However, some family members and other mourners who gathered at the church in Bog Walk, St Catherine, brushed off her concerns. They suggested that her reaction was due to grief. Still, Alexander was convinced that they were wrong and kept voicing her concerns after the body was buried.

"He was taller than Dantae, blacker than Dantae. Him never look like Dantae at all," Alexander said.

Yesterday, four days after the funeral, O'Brien's father, Kenroy Gooden, received a shocking phone call from the funeral home. He was informed that there was the possibility that the body that was buried on Saturday may not have been that of his son. He could not believe what he was hearing and rushed to the funeral home.

"When mi guh up there, a mi son mi guh see," Gooden said adding that he is now an emotional wreck because of the ordeal.

"Oh boy, mi feel like mi a guh crazy inna mi head, mi nuh know weh fi tell mi family dem," said Gooden.

O'Brien, fondly called 'Dantae', drowned in the Rio Cobre in Bog Walk, St Catherine, on December 26, 2023. He had reportedly accompanied other children to the river but encountered difficulties and drowned. His body was found the following day.

Contacted for comment yesterday, the CEO of the funeral home admitted that a probe is under way to determine if the wrong body was buried. He also said that a mixing up of bodies is not uncommon in the funeral business.

"If there is a misplace of the body, we are not the first and we won't be the last," he said.

O'Brien's parents, now convinced that they have buried the wrong body, wants their son to get a proper funeral.

"A nuh Dantae we bury, suh we have to do over a funeral," the mother said.

However, the funeral home director appears unwilling to entertain that thought.

"There is no way at all that we will plan another funeral, so if the body should be moved, we just remove the other one, suh if this one is his', yuh move that one and yuh bury O'Brien same time. If that is the case, yuh don't plan another funeral for that," he said.

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