‘Mistakes were made,’ Central Texas woman says after mother’s body misplaced

Published: Mar. 31, 2021 at 6:27 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - After losing her mother to COVID-19, a Central Texas woman says she was faced with further devastation when her mother’s body was misplaced.

“No one should have to deal with that,” Brandy Lewis said.

“It is mental torture.”

Sherri Pilgrim died in December at Ascension Providence Hospital in Waco.

Lewis says when she went to Bellmead Funeral Home to drop off her mother’s clothes and Bible, she didn’t recognize the woman lying there.

“She did have the blonde hair and the pointed nose, and she had the very district marks on her face from the ventilator,” Lewis said.

“It took a whole second for me to go, ‘Woah, this isn’t my momma.’”

Lewis says immediately dread set in.

“Sheer panic runs through your head because then you go it’s been a week,” Lewis said.

“Is mom cremated, has she been buried somewhere else?”

Sherri Pilgrim’s body was eventually located.

Lewis says she doesn’t know for sure where, but thinks her mother was found at a different funeral home.

“We have embalmed some lady that is not ours, dressed her up already, done her hair, and then we have to go back, and I know it doesn’t sound like a big deal, but we had to go back and do it again,” Lewis said.

Some funeral homes use third parties for embalming services either because of a lack of space or licensing.

Bellmead Funeral Home does employ another company to provide embalming services.

Lewis says no matter who is at fault, it should not have happened.

“They didn’t lose her clothes, they lost a whole body,” Lewis said.

“Mistakes were made.”

Ascension Providence issued a statement Wednesday in which it said, “Ascension Providence works with grieving families to ensure their loved ones are handled with care and respect. Ascension Providence follows protocols regarding the release of the deceased with Waco Mortuary and the funeral home of choice. Once the deceased patient is transferred to the mortuary, he or she is no longer under the care or responsibility of Ascension Providence. In respecting patient privacy, we do not share the details of individual patient care.”

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