Lawsuits allege San Antonio funeral home switched bodies of two elderly women

Mission Park Funeral Chapels and Cemeteries being sued for $1 million by each family

SAN ANTONIO – The bodies of two San Antonio women who died 10 days apart in November were switched by Mission Park Funeral Chapels and Cemeteries, according to separate lawsuits filed by the women’s families.

The women are identified as Catalina Cervantes, 85, and Mary Lou Salinas, 88.

Attorney Mark Greenwald, who represents the Salinas family, said that cases of this nature are a traumatic experience for families.

”All clients I’ve had are horrified,” he said. “They just don’t know what to do because they’re in a different universe.”

“In every funeral home case that I’ve handled, the trauma that’s inflicted on the families is always severe, horrific and lingering,” said Alex Katzman, who represents the Cervantes family.

A lawyer for the funeral home released the following statement:

“We learned yesterday that some publicity-seeking contingent fee lawyers leaked a lawsuit to the media that has yet to be served on our company. This attempt to exploit two separate families began when one family misidentified the remains of their mother. An open casket visitation and service with this family followed without incident.

Later, inconsistencies led us to reach out to the second family for a positive identification. Once it was confirmed that the first family’s identification was incorrect, we took immediate action to reunite the families with the correct remains the next day.”

The lawsuits are seeking damages in excess of $1 million.

About the Authors

Paul Venema is a courthouse reporter for KSAT with more than 25 years experience in the role.

Sal Salazar is a photojournalist at KSAT 12. Before coming to KSAT in 1998, he worked at the Fox affiliate in San Antonio. Sal started off his career back in 1995 for the ABC Affiliate in Lubbock and has covered many high-profile news events since. In his free time, he enjoys spending time at home, gaming and loves traveling with his wife.

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