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Florida family upset after U-Haul van used as hearse

Funeral home says its hearses were too small

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(From WPLG-TV)

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A South Florida family is upset over the botched burial of their loved one, WPLG-TV reported.

Thelford Rigby Jr., 30, better known as Tommy, had a severe weight problem and related health issues, so an oversized casket and grave site were required. But when it came time to lay Rigby to rest, there was nothing but indignity.

Family members said the cemetery somehow had the wrong measurements and that's why the burial hole and the vault were too small.

"Mother's in pain. Father's in pain. We're all in pain because we can't believe this is happening," Rigby's brother, Wilvinze Bazil, said. 

Another painful insult was the hearse. 

The Wright & Young Funeral Home couldn't use its hearses because they were too small, so employees told the family they would get an all-black or white cargo van. But a U-Haul van is what showed up at the service.

"A U-haul -- a U-Haul with U-Haul logos on it and the price on it," Bazil said. 

When Local 10 News went to Wright & Young, nobody there wanted to speak on camera.

But the Miami funeral home later released a statement saying: "The staff of Wright & Young Funeral Home deeply regrets the transportation issue, which occurred during the service of Mr. Rigby. Our management team has met privately with the family and expressed our most sincere apologies and regrets." 

The company also blamed the too-small grave site on Forest Lawn Memorial Gardens.

However, a spokeswoman for Forest Lawn Memorial Gardens threw the blame back at the funeral home.

"The dimensions provided by the funeral home to Forest Lawn Memorial Gardens were not accurate," spokeswoman Gretchen Whitaker said in a statement.

On Wednesday, the correct vault was in place and the grave was wide enough for Rigby's casket.