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Man sorts through 1,000 corpses in 3 hours searching for dad’s missing body

Posted by 3citynewswire on 05/02/2010

But it was mistakenly given out and buried by another family in another town.

Umuahia Nigeria: While searching for his father’s body, he was confronted with a most bizarre assignment of sorting through a pile of corpses, in fact thousands of them in the morgue to see their faces and pick out that of his father. Alas he could not locate the body.

After more than three hours in this nightmarish task in search of his 88-year old man’s corpse, bewildered Chu passed out and was later revived by friends and relations.
Narrating his ordeal at the Deeper Life Bible Church, in Aguiyi-Ironsi Layout, Nnorom said that over one thousand dead bodies littered the floor of the mortuary and that proved difficult to know who was who except when one turned their faces.

It was at that instance that he went to work and started turning the faces of the dead one by one to identify the corpse of his father deposited there on February 5 and was to be buried on March 27.

“Some of the faces there had so changed that it would be hard even for their relatives to identify.

“For this reason, I had to turn them one after another and at the end of the exercise, I fainted and had to be revived by those who came with me.
“Maybe because of the chemical I inhaled, exhaustion, or the fear of a living being staying in the midst of the dead for that long, I passed out.

“Vultures and rodents even come into the place to feed on corpses through the openings at the back and anyone the attendants found eaten that way is filled up with mud and dressed before the owners arrive to take them for burial.

After Pa Samuel Nnorom Uchegbu Nduka died on February 5 at 88, the family had met and scheduled the burial for March 27 and agreed that the body should be deposited at the mortuary along Aba Road, Umuahia.

Preparations commenced for a befitting passage rites and before the day, 90 percent of the arrangements had been concluded.
The family ran a budget in excess of N2.5 million and on the scheduled day, food and drinks were made available as guests thronged the village, Umuokehi Obiohuru to pay their last respects.

The grave had been prepared waiting for the corpse to take possession of it as several Ministers of God from the man’s church were set to conduct the funeral.

Time to pick the corpse from the morgue for burial approached and the family members left for where their late father’s remains were kept. But they got a shocker to discover that the casket they brought earlier was empty and the clothes meant for the body were all intact.
They asked the mortuary attendants what had become of their father’s body and a long story commenced.

“One of them feigned ignorance of the situation to take us inside the mortuary to bring the body and when we could not see it and came out, the other people had deserted the environment. It was then that it became clear to us that there was a problem.
“The youths lost their cool and wanted to set the place ablaze and I told them to calm down that I would consult my lawyer. And when I did, the lawyer advised that we should invite the police. The police was invited who arrested the owner of the mortuary, one man identified as Ogbuefi Anthony”, his son narrated.

Before this time the distraught man had turned over one thousand corpses, looking for his father’s body without success. After that he fainted and was revived by people around. “I had never imagined a place like that before”, he recalled in astonishment.
“Inside the place were so many bodies that were just scattered on the floor. Some of the bodies were partly eaten up by vulture and rodents which I think come in through the back of the house which is open.

“When any of the bodies is eaten, the attendants have special mud with which they fill them up before dressing and handing them over to their owners.
“Of course, nobody will go to the extent of undressing a corpse to know if it was complete or not before taking them to the grave once they are brought back from the mortuary. One of the rooms inside there was filled with human skeleton, which I think are the bones of bodies that must have been abandoned for years without being claimed.
“I think, they introduce chemicals on them to eat up the flesh and keep them in that room standing like weird beings. It is so amazing, so horrifying.

“The owner of the mortuary pleaded that we should give him two days to look for it.
We agreed to allow him two weeks instead to make sure that he found our father’s corpse.”
The team had to call home to tell the family to serve the guests who came for the burial since the body could not be found. Some of the people ate and others refused to eat and left in anger.

Two days later, the morgue owner called to say he had found the body. They had delivered the corpse to another family far away in another town a month earlier and he was buried in another man’s grave, while the real owner of the grave was still lying in the mortuary.
The body was erroneously delivered to a family in Amakama Olokoro, in Umuahia South LGA. There it was buried. When the error was detected by the mortuary managers, the Uchegbu Nduka family moved in there to exhume their father’s body and return it home for proper burial in his ancestors place and in the grave meant for him.

Then the body had stayed in a strange grave in a strange land for 35 days. “I was there with them and identified the body of my father inside another man’s grave. It was still intact and had not started decomposing at all due to the chemicals the mortuary used on the body. The body was returned to the mortuary and discussions with them started. Several meetings were held and at last we agreed to settle at home. We were able to settle with the mortuary owner and took our father’s body and buried him two weeks after”, his son said.
Pa Samuel Nnorom Uchegbu Nduka was born in 1922 at Umuokehi in Umuahia North and died on February 5.

The state Police Public Relations Officer, Ali Okechukwu confirmed the incident but said that the matter was peacefully resolved.

The mortuary owner, who identified himself as Ogbuefi Anthony spoke through a man he identified as his imagemaker saying that the body was actually found and re-buried.
“Did you not hear that the body has been buried, that is what is important? If you write anything about it, you will become my enemy,” the man threatened.

A lady who refused to disclose her identity, but likely the daughter of Pa Nnorom confirmed the settlement with the mortuary owner and said “we settled with him, not minding how much we lost and the embarrassment they caused us. Whatever offer they made was accepted.”
A family source from Umuokoroukwu Village, Amakama, where Pa Nnorom’s body was erroneously buried told Saturday Sun that the mistake of carrying another corpse in place of their 90 year-old Pa Mathias Mgbodo was made by the mortuary attendants.

“The tag they gave us was 70 and it was written like 76. So when we got to the mortuary, instead of giving us the corpse that had tag 70, they gave us the one that had 76, which was the body of the other man – Pa Nnorom. Because they had some level of resemblance, and the first son who was supposed to identify him did not come with them to the mortuary, they took the body and buried. The elders in the village are also to blame because this is a man they lived with and they could not recognize that he was not the one laid in state prior to burial.”

However, traditional meaning was read into the incident by a villager who narrated that: “While the man was alive, he told them to kill a ram for his funeral when he dies because he is a strong believer in tradition. But instead of the ram, the family killed a goat. It is believed that the man was the one that closed their eyes not to recognize him at the mortuary.”

Source: Sunnewsonline


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