Mother Angered After 850-Pound Daughter’s Death Causes Funeral Nightmare: ‘I Don’t Wish That on Anybody’

A Wisconsin woman grieving the death of her late daughter is upset after she could not arrange a funeral for her this past week, due to the young woman’s weight.

In an exclusive story, WITI-TV reported Cassandra Ortiz of the Milwaukee suburb of Cudahy died last week in her home.

The outlet reported the woman weighed 850 pounds at the time of her passing, meaning efforts to remove her from the home were complicated. That process alone took around 12 hours and around two dozen people.

In addition to the logistical challenge of transporting her remains, Ortiz’s mother Carolyn Alverio was unable to find a funeral home that could cremate her.

Ortiz was ultimately transported to neighboring Illinois for cremation, because none of the local funeral homes was equipped to handle the job.


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Alverio explained, “There’s not a funeral home that would take her.”

The woman said she felt helpless as dozens of people entered her home after her daughter died, but that despite their best efforts, removing her Ortiz from the building was a challenge.

“To walk in that room and just keep seeing her there, and it’s like, oh my God, when are they going to get my baby out of here?” she reeled. “They need to get her out of here.”

Ted Larsen, who owns Church & Chapel Funeral Services, stepped in to help and worked alongside the Cudahy fire and police departments to load Ortiz into a van owned by the city.

“There were at times 20-30 people in this house trying to help this family, address this situation,” Larsen said.

Even after her body was removed from the home, the transport of her body was a fiasco.

Firefighters received an emergency call after Larsen helped emergency personnel load Ortiz into the van, so her body was taken along for an emergency call.

Larsen told WITI, “Myself and my colleagues were not capable of taking her from the van into – to put her onto any table to accommodate her.”


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Alverio was heartbroken when she described how she felt after the transportation of her daughter’s remains hit obstacle after obstacle.

She said, “With her having sat so long in the bed, and having sat so long in the van, even if we wanted to, we couldn’t do a funeral.”

The mother also said her daughter was both a “beautiful soul” and “contagious” with “laughter.”

“I don’t wish what we are going through – I don’t wish that on anybody,” Alverio said.

Alverio told WITI she wants the state of Wisconsin to do something to assist the families of the morbidly obese when they die.

The still-grieving mother wants the state of Wisconsin to add protocols to handle such situations for future families who might find themselves in such a jam.

“Something’s got to be put in place,” she told WITI.

In addition to asking her state to enact policies for obese people in death, Alverio urged families who are caring for a loved one with weight issues to make arrangements beforehand.

US Funerals Online reported that funeral directors are having to make changes in the way they do business to accommodate larger corpses.

“The costs of arranging a funeral for an obese person can far exceed the cost of an average funeral,” the site reported.

Oversize caskets — up to 52 inches wide — can be obtained for corpses up to 1,000 pounds, but they they have to be custom-made and come with a hefty price tag starting at around $2,500.

Larger grave plots and vault liners are also sometimes available — for an additional fee — as are super-sized cremation containers and equipment.

As for moving the corpses, “Today many funeral homes have begun to employ more sophisticated lifting, winching, and trolley equipment to assist in the movement of corpses and caskets,” the site reported.

“Many hearse manufacturers now have to consider offering a hearse in their range that is wider with a larger rear door and a reinforced chassis.”

If that’s not available, sometimes alternative transportation, like a horse and carriage, can be used to handle the job.

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