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Wrong body in casket stuns Wash. family

CHEHALIS, Wash. — The family of a deceased man wants to know how the wrong body ended up in his casket at his funeral.

Family members of Jerry Moon were horrified Monday when they looked in the casket and saw the body of another man, The Chronicle reported Tuesday. They have hired a lawyer and asked the state Department of Licensing to investigate.

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Moon, a retired railroad conductor from Castle Rock, died Oct. 13 at Community Home, Health & Hospice in Longview at age 72. Dahl McVicker Funeral Home in Kelso picked up his body the same day, and Brown Mortuary in Chehalis transported the body from there.

Brown Mortuary manager Daniel LaPlaunt said the bodies of the two men were mislabeled at the Kelso funeral home. The company has now changed its policy to require family identification before any services.

Moon’s son, Brian, of Chehalis said he learned from Ken Dahl, the president of Dahl McVicker Funeral Home, that his dad had been cremated.

‘‘My dad feared cremation,’’ Moon said. ‘‘He spent a lot of time and money and he wanted to be buried next to his father and mother.’’

Meanwhile, the man who had been scheduled to be cremated, Robert Petitclerc, was placed in Moon's casket for the funeral in Chehalis. ‘‘That poor guy was dressed in my father’s clothes in front of hundreds of people,’’ Moon said.

After the mistake was discovered, Petitclerc was cremated.

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