Police Investigate Qld Coffin Swap
Police are investigating an alleged fraud after a central Queensland family accused a funeral home of switching a grandmother's $1700 silky oak coffin for a cheap pine box just before her cremation.
Janice Cecilia Valigura, 74, was farewelled in Rockhampton on Monday, but her family say she was removed from her casket, wrapped in plastic and placed in a cheap box prior to her cremation.
Meanwhile, letters written by her grandchildren and placed on her heart were thrown away.
Queensland Police have confirmed they are investigating the matter.
"It's been reported as a fraud and that's what's being investigated at this stage," Detective Sergeant Craig Strohfeldt told reporters on Thursday.
"It's only been alleged at this stage but if the investigations do prove that an offence has been committed then it is a shocking thing."
The funeral home, Harts Family Funerals, declined to comment when contacted by AAP, with owner Tony Hart only saying there were "two families involved in the story".
Queensland Funeral Directors Association president Anton Brown said changing coffins was not common practice in the funeral industry.
"When people choose a funeral director they put a lot of trust in that person," Mr Brown told ABC radio.
"This person who has done this to the family has broken their trust.
"It's like buying a Mercedes and getting a Toyota Corolla."
Ms Valigura's son Mick Valigura said the family was shocked by what had happened.
"I just don't want this to happen to anyone else," he told The Morning Bulletin.
On the funeral home's website, Mr Hart promises to provide bereaved families with "personal and exceptional care".
"We pride ourselves on offering families a funeral that is affordable, professional, modern in standards and of the highest integrity," he says.