WARWICK, Rhode Island – A Rhode Island woman approached her mother's casket to say goodbye, and saw a complete stranger.
Lisa Kondvar was grief-stricken after learning that her 82-year-old mother passed away suddenly while on vacation in St. Maarten this past November. To make matters worse, when Kondvar went to stand by her mother's casket to say a prayer before the calling hours started, the person she saw in her mother's black sparkly outfit was a stranger, according to an article from The Providence Journal.
"I kept thinking, ‘Am I dreaming?'" Kondvar said in the article. "But it wasn't my mother."
She believes that while her mother's body was in a St. Maarten funeral home it was confused with a Canadian woman's, who died on the island within hours of her mom.
Kondvar believes that the Canadian woman's body was sent to New Jersey, while her mother's body was shipped to Ottawa, where it was possibly cremated by another family.
"It just all didn't make sense," Kondvar said in the article.
She remembers the funeral director, who knew her mother, in New Jersey saying that whoever prepared the body in St. Maarten did a poor job.
She also recalled her sister saying that she was not allowed to see her mother's body in St. Maarten and that the funeral home refused to release the body until the family wired $7,000.
Another strange detail: a red pouch containing jewelry was sent to the funeral home along with what was supposed to be her mother's body, but her sister had taken her mother's jewelry while on the Caribbean island.
Kondvar's family has hired a private detective who has contacted the U.S. consulate in Curacao and the State Department. They are also looking to hire an international attorney. U.S. Sen. Jack Reed has put a staff member on the case who is keeping the family updated with any information that becomes available.
"No family should ever have to go through something like this," Reed said in the article. "We want to help them get answers and ultimately try to ensure this type of situation never happens again."
Kondvar just wants closure, and wants to know for sure if the person cremated in Canada was in fact her mother.
For more: Providence Journal