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Family devastated after grandmother’s coffin swapped for pine box

Police are investigating after a grandmother's $1,700 oak coffin was switched to a pine box for cremation, after a funeral service in central Queensland.

Janice Valigura, 74, died on New Year's Eve and was farewelled at a funeral service in Rockhampton on Monday.

Her family had bought a top-of-the-range silky oak casket as part of the funeral package.

Ms Valigura's son Mick said they were told there would be a delay in moving the body from the church to the crematorium.

But when the family arrived at the crematorium one of the mourners noticed the casket had been swapped for a $70 pine box.

Mr Valigura said the family was devastated but the undertaker told him it was common practice.

He said police officers had taken photos of both coffins as part of an investigation.

The funeral director has denied any wrongdoing but declined to comment.

Whitsunday Funerals and Crematorium director Jeff Doyle has previously raised concerns about standards in the industry, and has written to the Premier and Attorney-General.

"This is the sort of thing that's probably common practice around Australia," he said.

"But unfortunately because most crematoriums, you're not allowed to go down and actually see the coffin go into the cremator, it's easy for them to do it.

"I feel sorry for the family in Rockhampton, I really do.

"I've been trying to get this out a long time.

"The industry needs serious regulation and it needs to be an independent, non-government board that actually inspects funeral homes."

Original Article

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