Two Women Claim to Be Dead Man’s Wife
Ivan Street passed away on January 9, 2021. He was 67 years old when he died from congestive heart failure. Naturally, this was a sad time for the family, particularly his wife Demetra Street. However, it was more than just sadness at the funeral home. Demetra had gone to Wylie Funeral Homes in Baltimore for the funeral and cremation of her husband.
Things Get Strange… and then Stranger
The funeral seemed to proceed as normally as one might expect. Demetra, mourning her husband, sat in the front row and stared at a photograph of her husband and the urn that she believed contained him.
However, when the service was over and she asked to get her husband’s ashes, the funeral home would not provide them to her. She knew something was wrong. She’d paid them $2,500 for the service and cremation, and now they wouldn’t give her the ashes.
The 52-year-old began an investigation to try to figure out what happened. She believes that the reason they refused to hand over the ashes was that they didn’t exist. Why did she come to this conclusion? Because his body was buried three days before the funeral service Demetra set up. Apparently, he was buried in Mount Zion Cemetery at the behest of another woman that claimed to be Ivan’s wife.
How could they have made this mistake? It might not have been a mistake as much as it was double-dipping and billing two widows. Let’s take a look at how this happened.
Demetra says that Wylie Funeral Home conducted two different services for the same dead person and took money from both. She’s decided to sue them for a whopping $8.5 million for breach of contract, fraud, negligence, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
The other woman, Renee Cook, went to the same funeral home and said that she was Ivan’s wife. She had an unofficial marriage certificate from 1997. Cook paid for the coffin, plot, and burial. Demetra’s complaint says that after the company took Cook’s money, they also took her money and faked a cremation, keeping both of the fees.
Demetra was also upset that the funeral home left up Cook’s tribute to Ivan, where she mentions him as her husband. Demetra said that the tribute was humiliating, as it showed someone else as Ivan’s wife.
Brandon Wylie, president of Wylie Funeral Homes denies that there was any wrongdoing on the part of his business. However, that remains to be seen, and more may come out in the lawsuit.
So Many Questions
To say that this is a strange case would be a big understatement. There are a lot of questions. For example, were Cook and Iven ever married, or was it some type of ruse? The paperwork that Renee Cook provided to the funeral home did not have a proper seal, so it wasn’t considered official. However, she may not have known that the seal was needed on the certificate and could have truly thought for more than 20 years that she and Ivan were married.
Was Ivan leading a second life… in the same city? How could he have done this and not been found out if that’s the case? While this might all sound like the plot of a movie, and it might eventually become one, it really did happen. There’s just so much more that we still don’t know.
Regardless, the loss of a loved one is always difficult to handle. When the circumstances are as murky as these, it can make things harder. Hopefully, everyone finds peace.