Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Did a funeral home in Albuquerque mix cremated remains?

ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – Theresa Ruta lives in Norton, Massachusetts, and had her cremated when her mother died in Rio Rancho last year. Then she wanted to create a keepsake out of her mother’s ashes. When she contacted the Riverside Funeral Home in Albuquerque where her mother was cremated, she got quite a surprise in the mail and now she’s wondering if she has someone else’s remains.

When Theresa originally picked up her mother Patricia Ruta’s ashes, everything seemed fine. She buried the urn, but after an order was placed for a trailer to hold some of the ashes, the funeral home returned ashes with a different name.

“I received a small white box in the mail and a piece of paper that said it was leftover ashes from the necklace, so I just put the box aside without looking inside,” said Theresa Ruta.

Earlier this month, Theresa opened the box with the necklace in it and found that the ashes were not labeled “Patricia Ruta” but instead had the name “Patricia Baca”.

“I got this little bag that says Patricia Baca with the same ID number. Who is Baca? Where did you get that name from? “

Theresa says she would show her mother’s respect and distribute some of the leftover ashes. “I wanted to take her ashes and throw them over the mountain as a memento,” Ruta said.

Theresa has been trying to get answers from the funeral home since learning of the mix-up but says she gets the rounds. A general manager of the Riverside Funeral Home called her a few weeks later to tell her the remains were her mother.

“I’m trying to find out why the plastic bag says Patricia Baca and not Patricia Ruta and the funeral home doesn’t cooperate with me and tell me why,” Ruta said.

Overall, Theresa says it’s a worrying situation for her and she doesn’t know what to do with the leftover ashes. She adds that she hasn’t told the rest of her family about this because she doesn’t want to upset them. The Riverside Funeral Home says their investigation has found the remains are correct and is working to resolve any concerns with Theresa.

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