A Rhode Island woman, Lisa Kondvar, is looking for hard answers after she discovered the wrong body inside a casket that should have enclosed the remains of her mother. The elderly woman passed away unexpectedly while visiting the island of St. Maarten. Kondvar, who lives in Warwick, Rhode Island and her family, found that there was a strange woman’s body in the coffin at a New Jersey funeral home in December of 2013. The body of her mother, Margaret Porkka, had supposedly been prepared at a funeral home in St. Maarten and should have been in that casket.
Kondvar stated that she was absolutely stunned when she saw the strange body. The family decided to continue with the funeral viewing, but kept the casket top closed, because they only happened to find out about the terrible error just before visiting hours were about to start.
The entire family thinks that either a hospital or funeral home ended up getting Porkka’s remains confused with those of a Canadian woman who also happened to passed away on the island about the same time. They also believe that Porkka’s body ended up being cremated in Ottawa. Kondvar stated that her family members want to find out for sure and plan on taking possession of the ashes if they are found out to positively be those of Porkka.
The two deceased women had absolutely no facial resemblance to each other one and also were of different body builds and dissimilar heights.
Chip Unruh, who is a spokesperson for U.S. Senator Jack Reed, stated on Friday that Reed’s office in Rhode Island was working with the State Department to help the family get the answers they were looking for. The family has also hired a private investigator and also want to find an transnational attorney.
Kondvar explained that the St. Maarten funeral home has refused to shed any light on the tragic error and has attempted to place blame elsewhere. Kondvar and her Rhode Island based family stated that one of their sisters was forbidden to see their mother’s remains when she was on the island and that the funeral home refused to give up her body unless them $7,000 in cash because it would not take any type of credit card or a check. They have yet to provide a cause of death but have issued a death certificate. On it they have Porkka was listed as a male. The certificate was made out in St. Maarten, Kondvar added.
St. Maarten is considered a part of the Netherlands, shares part of a Caribbean island with St. Martin, which is a French colony. Porkka and some of her family had gone there over the Thanksgiving holiday for a trip.
Kondvar declared that her father, age 82, and who resides in Englewood, New Jersey, is totally devastated over not being able to tell his wife of more than 60 years good-bye. She added that he is extremely bitter and angry. The elderly man was unable to go to St. Maarten.
St. Maarten, which is part of the Netherlands, shares a Caribbean island with St. Martin, a French dependency. Lisa Kondvar is hoping she will find answers after she discovered the wrong body inside the casket that should have enclosed the remains of her mother.
By Kimberly Ruble