Maryland family finds dead woman's personal items inside Halloween casket

One Maryland family received a spooky surprise that left them both shocked and infuriated after ordering a prop casket for their annual Halloween party. 

When the Wozniaks opened up the casket they had ordered this year to add to their Halloween decorations, the family discovered personal items inside belonging to a woman who had passed away. 

Brooke Wozniak told FOX 5 that the casket was ordered from Facebook Marketplace. After finding a dead woman's personal belongings inside it, Wozniak said that she wouldn't want that to happen to her own mom. So, she decided to create a TikTok video — which has now gone viral — hoping social media could help return the belongings to the deceased woman’s family.

"Everyone was in shock. And we didn’t really know how to feel about it," Wozniak said. "My first reaction was, we’ve got to find the family. We gotta find whoever the next of kin is or whoever knows her."

In the TikTok video, Wozniak shows some of the sensitive documents her family found taped underneath the cardboard inside of the casket. There's a death certificate for an Edith Crews that includes her social security number, the George Washington University Hospital bracelet she wore, a photo of her – and an envelope containing what the Wozniak's believed to be Edith’s ashes. 

When the deceased woman’s granddaughter stumbled upon the viral TikTok video, she showed her mom.

Sabrina Jones says she was shocked. She told FOX 5 that her mother, a 74-year-old community pastor named Edith Crews Meriedy, died in January. 

And because she died of COVID, she passed away struggling to breathe and wasn’t allowed to have family at her side. Her family members now have to relive this terrible experience all over again.

"It doesn’t ease the pain of her being gone, you know? She was my best friend. I loved my mom dearly," Jones said. "I’m the only girl. I’m the one who took her to George Washington University and left her there."

"I mean I’m grateful that [the Wozniak family] kept it, and we do have it back. I thank God for that," Jones added. 

FOX 5 was with Edith’s children as they met the Wozniak family to thank them and retrieve their mom’s documents.

FOX 5 also traveled with the family — but was not allowed inside — when they went to confront the funeral business owner.

Edith’s daughter said they had rented the casket through Freeman Funeral Services in Clinton, Maryland, and had their mother cremated after. 

The owner would not go on camera. However, Jones said the owner was empathetic and took responsibility for the documents issue. She asked to give them until Thursday to further investigate.

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Freeman Funeral Services owner, Glenda Freeman, said they sent multiple caskets to a scrap metal business for destruction.

FOX 5 has reached out to that company. But the families involved both said at least one other person's information was found in this casket. 

Jones wants answers sooner than later. 

This is a developing story. Check back with FOX 5 for updates.