'No way it was her’: San Antonio family claims funeral home lost grandmother’s body

Lawsuit filed against Castillo Mission Funeral Home seeking more than $1 million in damages

SAN ANTONIO – A San Antonio family is claiming a local funeral home lost their grandma’s body and now they’re suing.

When the family went to rosary services last Friday at Castillo Mission Funeral Home, they said they found the body of another woman lying in the casket.

Irene Blanco and her family made the shocking discovery when they arrived for the services for Blanco’s grandmother, 78-year-old Dolores Gutierrez Deleon.

Funeral homes make changes to services amid coronavirus pandemic

“As soon as we approached the casket and we viewed her, right away, we all knew it was not her,” Blanco said. “Her face, everything, was just completely different. There was no way it was her.”

Blanco said when they approached the funeral director they offered to look for identifying marks on the body to confirm it was Deleon. But when they looked for a scar from a hip replacement, it wasn’t there.

“So it is 100% guarantee that that is not our grandmother,” Blanco said.

The family demanded to know where Deleon’s body was but the funeral home had no answers.

“They’re basically trying to locate her, as of right now, the woman in that casket, they don’t know who it is,” Blanco said.

According to Blanco, Deleon was in hospice care at a relative’s home and died on April 23. The funeral home sent two people to pick up the body.

According to the family and online obituaries posted on the funeral home’s website, another woman by the name of Dolores Gutierrez died on April 21 and her funeral was held on April 30, the day before Deleon’s services.

“There could be a mix up of some sort, but it still does not excuse what happened today, like at all,” Blanco said. “I want to find my grandmother because with that woman, they buried her, so I don’t know if she was buried with the wrong family or she’s somewhere else.”

When a KSAT crew went to the funeral home Tuesday afternoon to get their side of the story, they weren’t talking.

“Hi, unfortunately at this time we can’t comment on anything,” an unidentified employee stated.

Tuesday morning Deleon’s family filed a lawsuit against the funeral home seeking a jury trial and damages in excess of $1 million dollars.

“This should not happen. Not to any family, not to just us, not to anybody,” Blanco said. “We trust them with our grandmother, with our loved one, with a day that she passed and they should be able to tell us where she is.”

The family has hired Mark Greenwald to represent them. He’s the same attorney who handled the case of Julie Mott.

Her body was stolen from a different San Antonio funeral home in 2015 and has never been found.

A jury awarded Mott’s parents $8 million dollars after finding the funeral home was negligent in the loss of their daughter’s body.

About the Author: