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Family upset over 'missing body' mystery

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Family upset over 'missing body' mystery
Photo: Shutterstock
11:57 CET+01:00
The body of an elderly man apparently “went missing” from an undertakers in Innsbruck, Tyrol, for five days last July - but the undertaker is refusing to say where it was, much to the annoyance of the man's daughter.

Mr W (not his real name) died on July 6th but his daughter only found out that he had passed away after she read about it in a local paper. His second wife’s daughter had organised the funeral and placed the announcement in the paper.

“I was in a panic - and I told the funeral company, Unschwarz, that I would have loved to organise my father’s funeral myself,” his daughter told the Tiroler Tageszeitung newspaper. However, the undertaker Herwig Bichler told her that he was bound to honour the arrangement he had made with her step-sister.

His daugher, Mrs W, then asked to see her father’s body but said that Bichler kept putting her off, and finally told her “to stop being so annoying”.

She then found out from another undertaker that her father’s body had disappeared and that “many funeral homes were looking for it”.

Bichler refused to say where the body had been stored, apart from confirming that his funeral home does not have mortuary refrigerator units. Mrs W said that she contacted Innsbruck and Kramsach crematoriums as well as the city council but they didn’t know where the body was either.

A crematorium in the neighbouring state of Salzburg confirmed that Mr W’s body arrived on the evening of July 11th, after a ceremony at Pradler cemetery. But his daughter still wants to know where his body was kept, and is worried that it wasn’t treated with proper respect.

The undertaker, Bichler, is now saying that it is a tragic story of relatives falling out and claims that he invited Mrs W to come and view the body, but that she didn’t want to. In an email to the Tiroler Tageszeitung he explained that he could not officially say where the corpse had been.

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