A grieving family was left in tears after mother’s coffin opened as grave diggers tried to shove it into a small hole.
Awilda Rivera and Jose Semidey were among the mourners when their mother, Claribel Oppenheimer, was being put to rest at Brooklyn’s Evergreens Cemetery.
According to the lawsuit [which was obtained by New York Daily News] that the family had filed against the cemetery, grave diggers mishandled Oppenheimer’s coffin by attempting to shove it into a plot with a hole that wasn’t big enough.
In the process, the coffin reportedly got damaged and the lid opened, prompting the mother’s hands to move so that they were no longer crossed.
“Having to watch the casket manhandled, damaged, opened and then placed on the grass as a backhoe is brought in to lengthen the grave while the casket is being replaced is unimaginable, and something no family should have to endure,” the family wrote in their lawsuit.
Speaking to DailyMail.com, the distraught family’s lawyer, Eric Rothstein, added that the cemetery is being sued for causing mental suffering to the family.
As the family’s lawsuit added, workers “pulled the coffin from all sides, causing sounds of scratching and scraping” after it got stuck in the small hole.
At one point, the coffin allegedly opened and the family had to watch in horror as the workers continued to try to fit the coffin into the small hole.
The disturbing attempts allegedly didn’t end until Semidey stepped in and told the employees to stop. Meanwhile, the pastor coordinating the funeral told the workers to make the hole bigger.
The family then reportedly had to wait for an hour for the backhoe to arrive and make the hole bigger while the mother’s coffin was lying on the ground next to them.
According to the lawsuit, the cemetery workers made the matter even worse for the family by yelling at them to move when the backhoe finally arrived.
Three hours after the family demanded that the damaged coffin is replaced, Oppenheimer’s body was moved to a funeral home and her coffin was replaced.
Speaking of the family’s ordeal to Daily News, Rothstein added:
“It is inexcusable for a cemetery not to dig a grave large enough to fit the casket. Having to watch the casket manhandled, damaged, opened and then placed on the grass as a backhoe is brought in to lengthen the grave while the casket is being replaced is unimaginable, and something no family should have to endure.”
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