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Family finds wrong body in casket at wake

By By Ann Mercogliano
Published On: Jan 14 2014 01:10:26 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 14 2014 02:30:19 PM CST
Wrong body found at wake

WPIX

FORT LEE, N.J. (WPIX) -

A New Jersey family was still grieving the loss of their mother, wife and grandmother, when they got to the wake and saw she wasn't there.

Judi Tymon thought nothing could be worse than losing her 82-year-old mother, until she arrived at her mother's wake and didn't see her mother in the casket.

A different woman's body was in the casket on Dec. 8 in Fort Lee.

Her heart sank. Now she's terrified that her mother, Margaret Porkka, is lost for good.

Porkka died over the Thanksgiving holiday while on vacation with her entire family on St. Maarten.

On Thanksgiving night, her mother didn't feel well. She stopped breathing before paramedics arrived, her family told WPIX.

Tymon sent clothes to a funeral home there, and made what she thought were arrangements to get her mom back to New Jersey, she said.

Peter Porkka never got to say goodbye to his wife of 63 years.

"It feels empty," he said.

According to The Associated Press, the St. Maarten prime minister said the government has formed a committee to investigate the case.

"The Department of State was made aware of the case of Ms. Margaret Porkka when we were contacted by the family. We express our deepest condolences to her family and friends. Embassy officials are in contact with the family, and are providing all appropriate consular assistance at this time to resolve the matter. Out of respect for the privacy of those affected by this tragedy, we will not comment further," the U.S. State Department said in a statement.

For Tymon and her family, this has been like a nightmare they can't wake up from.