Officials explain cemetery's wrong baby mistake

Officials explain cemetery's wrong baby mistake
Each marker represents a grave at the Shelby County Cemetery
Each marker represents a grave at the Shelby County Cemetery

(WMC-TV) - A grieving mother who requested her baby be returned for a proper burial says cemetery crews gave her the wrong baby.

Now, Shelby County's chief administrative officer is explaining how the mistake happened.

"We should have handled that better and I'm disappointed that we didn't open it and make sure," said Shelby County CAO Harvey Kennedy.

Veronica Miller's stillborn baby was buried at the cemetery in late September. Once Miller realized the cemetery was a government funded resting place, she changed her mind. That is when cemetery workers handed over the wrong baby to a funeral director.

"They should keep better records and go through different procedures as far as just going and getting a baby out the ground and just handing them over," said Miller.

Kennedy says staff members should have opened the casket and identified the remains from a tag inside.

"I guess they were sure everything was right and they did not check it like we should have," he said.

The Shelby County Cemetery is a government funded option for families who cannot afford to bury a loved one.

Kennedy says on Friday morning crews positively identified Veronica Miller's baby.

"And the Miller baby has in fact been delivered to the funeral home and so we regret that. Our apologies go out to the Miller family, it shouldn't have happened and we're certainly sorry that it did," Kennedy apologized on behalf of the cemetery and county.

"I just don't want nobody else to go through what I went through," said Miller.

Kennedy says crews were off by one burial site. He says they will now have to mark each casket on the outside as another measure to make sure this does not happen again.

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