State taking action after Bellevue funeral home allegedly put wrong person in casket for burial

BELLEVUE, Wash. — All Jerry Weber wanted was to bury his father, Air Force veteran William Weber, at Tahoma National Cemetery.

But the Washington State Department of Licensing alleges that didn’t happen because Curnow Funeral Home put the wrong person in the casket for burial.

“It’s tragic. My family and I are devastated,” Jerry Weber told Jesse Jones in January. “I don’t know who that person is, who received military honors in my father’s casket … My father’s not buried with my mother at Tahoma National Cemetery. It’s a stranger.”

The statement of charges says another body with the same last name was placed in the casket.

“In our investigation, we found that they didn’t verify the identification of the remains that went into the casket prior to it being sent to the cemetery, which also meant that they didn’t follow the family’s burial instructions,” said Christine Anthony with the Department of Licensing. “Both of those acts were violations of the law. So to address unprofessional conduct and the care of human remains.”

It was a little more than two weeks after the funeral when Curnow was notified that William Weber’s remains were still at Curnow’s third-party storage vendor.

As a result, the state is asking for a $10,000 fine against the funeral home.

“It’s important to ask questions and get all the facts so we can help the funeral and cemetery board in determining whether state laws and rules that guide the disposition of bodies were followed,” said Anthony. “In this case, they were not. So it was very important that we figured out what went wrong and their processes so they can make a correction so it won’t happen again.”

The state says Curnow Funeral home contacted the two families involved and paid for their funerals.

KIRO 7 reached out to get Curnow’s side of the story and a spokesperson sent us the following statement:

“We are in touch with the State authorities and cannot comment further on this issue at this time.”

Jerald Weber declined an on-camera interview for this report, but his attorney did send a statement:

“The Statement of Charges filed by the state further illuminates the incompetence of handling Jerald Weber’s father … The pain and suffering caused by this failure to follow the rules could have been avoided by a simple inspection of the body.”

In January of this year, after William Weber was disinterred, the family held a second ceremony.

“Now I have to be there for him again,” said Jerry Weber. “To make it right. And that’s what this is about. Making it right for my dad.”

Curnow Funeral Home now has 20 days to respond to the charges.