/  07.27.2022

Kyung Ja Kim passed away in November 2021, and her family planned a peaceful, religious, beautiful homegoing. But the 93-year-old matriarch’s daughter, Kummi Kim, said her mother’s “last memory” was “very painful and disturbing and horrible.”

Kummi fainted at the funeral home after it was revealed mid-way through the ceremony that the wrong body was in the casket. “The casket is directed to come up out of the grave, and the staffers whisked the casket away in a hearse, and off they go,” said Michael Maggiano, a lawyer for the family. Attendees were asked to leave without explanation. 

The family claims no apology or refund of the $9,000 cost was offered. Kummi Kim says she notified the people at the church that there was something off beforehand. The family was surprised when the funeral home director, Haemin Gina Chong, opened the casket before the event started. “When she opened the casket, I told her, ‘This is not my mom,’” she said. Kim was told that extra work was done to make her mother look better. But the family isn’t letting up because they’re convinced that one of the organizers was aware of the mishap. “The poor soul whose body was confused with hers had a full set of teeth, and they learned the dentures were placed under the pillow,” Maggiano said.

Kim’s family flew in from Korea to attend the funeral in California, but many couldn’t stay for the second funeral with the correct body. “How sad it is, guilty, shameful, humiliation… We never can get rid of it,” Kummi Kim said. The family named Ridgefield: Central Funeral Home of New Jersey and Blackley Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Inc., the director, and mortician in the $50 million lawsuit. If they win the lawsuit, the family pledges to donate to Kyung Ja Kim’s two favorite churches.

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