Woman Sues Brooklyn Funeral Home After Mother Was Buried With NYC's Unclaimed Bodies

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A woman is suing a Brooklyn funeral home for mishandling her deceased mother’s body.

Dawn Morales says she paid RG Ortiz Funeral Home in Williamsburg to cremate her mother, Nancy Deryayla. The 78-year-old died on Aug. 27, but Morales still has no ashes.

That’s because her mother was buried on Hart Island in the city's potter's field instead — a gravesite where the city buries unclaimed bodies.

"My mom was treated like nobody cared, and we did," said Morales of Brooklyn. "My mother had a family who loved her and who wanted to do the right thing and she was put in a place where nobody cared.”

According to the medical examiner's office, the family was notified that the funeral home should pick up her mother's body by September 10. No one claimed it. Deryayla remained at the medical examiner's office until Oct. 13, when it was sent for city burial. Three days later, RG Ortiz Funeral Home called to claim it.

“She suffered with cancer and now placed there it’s a total disrespect,” said Morales.

At the funeral home, not many answers were provided, but a worker there said they will get the body back this week.

That answer, however, is not good enough for Morales, who filed a lawsuit on Wednesday. Her attorney, Phil Rizzuto, said "their failure to notify her of their errors or offer any explanation as to the whereabouts of her mother is downright cruel and absolutely heart breaking."

More than four months after her mother died, Morales still has not been able to properly mourn.

"I want my mother to be set free finally from being locked up in her home and then to be sick from cancer and to be buried in that horrible place," she said.

There was no immediate response from the funeral home about the lawsuit.

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