N.L. family heartbroken over 'missing' ashes


A Newfoundland woman has filed a complaint against a local funeral home after what are supposedly her late husband's ashes were returned in an urn labelled "Mom." 

The urn, one of several that were to be distributed among family members, was also engraved with someone else's date of birth and death. 

Sandy Barter of Corner Brook, N.L., says she thinks Country Haven Funeral Home made an "honest mistake." 

But because the home has denied any responsibility — and denies even having handled the urn — she's complained to the provincial regulator. 

"I'm really disappointed that it came to this," she told CBC News. "Country Haven just had to take that urn back, and give me the proper urn with Doug's ashes, and everything would have been fine."

After Doug Barter died, at age 52, in June, Sandy and her sister-in-law, Lynn Barter, bought some urns at a local store, Things Engraved.

Lynn had one engraved for her son, Alexander. It said either "Doug" or "Uncle Doug" — she can't remember exactly — but she's sure it was done correctly.

"My husband I waited for them to engrave it. We both checked it. It was fine," she said.

"[The store] said their process was always to check, have the person make sure that the engraving was accurate, before they took the item out of the store."

The funeral home later gave the urns, filled with ashes, to Sandy. She says the engraved one stayed in a bag, untouched, until another family member delivered it to Alexander, who lives in St. John's, in September. 

Assuming a simple mix-up had occurred, Lynn texted a photo of the urn to Country Haven so they could fix the mistake.

"And they didn't apologize, and they didn't accept any responsibility," she said.

The funeral home denied having handled the urn, she said. 

"Why would we make this up?" said Lynn.

"What motivation would we have to make up something that is just outlandish?"