Deadly Surprise: Funeral Home Cremates Wrong Woman

It was a tough Christmas for the Tuccillo family of Waterbury. Their mother and grandmother, Aurelie Tuccillo, 95, passed away on Christmas Eve.

When the family arrived at Buckmiller Brothers Funeral Home in Prospect, Conn., for her wake Tuesday night, they were shocked to find another woman's body in Tuccillo's casket.

The family called Prospect Police, who together with Connecticut State Police, searched the funeral home and found out Tuccillo's body had been inadvertently cremated.

"This is certainly an unusual case for the State Police to be involved in, but we'll certainly make every effort to answer all the questions surrounding what happened," said Connecticut State Police Lt. J. Paul Vance.

Wayne Buckmiller, the director of the family-run funeral home, said he is devastated by what he called an "identification mix-up."

He released this statement that read in part, "The funeral home is working closely with the family to resolve this difficult situation and extend our most sincere condolences to them at this challenging time."

When reached by phone, a member of Tuccillo's family said they were too upset to talk.

Wayne Buckmiller says in 75 years in funeral business, a mistake like this has never happened before.

Now State Police are heading up an investigation for the Department of Public Health, which licenses funeral home in Connecticut, looking into what led to the mix-up.

"There probably will be no criminal charges. We've been in contact with State's Attorney and right now the State Police involvement is to conduct the administrative investigation for Department of Public Health, so they can determine if there's any enforcement they need to take from their end," Lt. Vance said.

Department of Public Health Spokesperson Bill Gerrish said once the investigation is complete, the finding will be presented to a committee, which will then decide the next step. One option is stripping the funeral home of its license.

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