Woman left concerned over mother’s cremated remains

Albuquerque News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Theresa Ruta lives in Norton, Massachusetts and when her mother passed away last year in Rio Rancho, she had her cremated. She then wanted to create a memento from her mother’s ashes. When she contacted the Riverside Funeral Home in Albuquerque where her mother was cremated, she got quite a surprise in the mail and now, she wonders if she has someone else’s remains.


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Originally, when Theresa picked up her mother Patricia Ruta’s ashes everything seemed okay. She buried the urn but then it was after an order for a pendant, to store some of the ashes was placed, that the funeral home sent back ashes labeled with a different name.

“I got a little white box in the mail and a note that said these are leftover ashes from the necklace so I just put the box aside without looking into it,” Theresa Ruta said.

Earlier this month, Theresa opened the box with the necklace in it to find the ashes were not labeled ‘Patricia Ruta’ but had the name ‘Patricia Baca’ on it instead. “I got this little bag that says Patricia Baca with the same ID number. Who is Baca? Where did they get that name from?”

Theresa says she was going to pay respects to her mother and spread some of the leftover ashes.“I was going to take her ashes and I was going to throw them over the mountain just as remembrance,” said Ruta.

Theresa has been trying to get answers from the funeral home since finding out about the mix-up but says she’s been getting the runaround. A general manager at Riverside Funeral home called her a few weeks later to tell her the leftover remains are her mother’s.

“I’m trying to find out why the plastic bag has Patricia Baca on it rather than Patricia Ruta and the funeral home is not cooperating with me and telling me why this is like that,” said Ruta.

Theresa says overall it is an upsetting situation for her and does not know what to do with the leftover ashes. She adds she has not yet told the rest of her family because she does not want to upset them. The Riverside Funeral Home says their investigation indicates the remains are correct and are working to address any concerns with Theresa.

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