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CHOCTAW, Okla. (KFOR) – It’s a disturbing discovery made by a grieving Choctaw family. 

Russell McGee’s family was getting ready to bury him on January 16 at Elmwood Cemetery.

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Russell McGee

They had already picked out and paid for McGee’s plot, but when the time came, someone was already buried in Russell’s place.

The family says they learned about the mix-up about 25 minutes before the graveside service.

Choctaw residents offer their reactions to the news. 

“I wouldn’t know how to react to that. That would be devastating,” said Carolyn Enriquez. 

“I would fight it and just let them know,” said Colton Nicholas.

McGee’s family now wants the city of Choctaw to pay for the burial because of the mix-up. They filed a tort claim for $925. 

The Oklahoma Municipal Assurance Group later denied that claim. 

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Elmwood Cemetery

The insurance company and the city clerk refused to comment on why the claim was rejected.

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McGee’s heartbroken family released this statement to News 4:

“From the beginning, our family only requested the city refund us for the services they did not perform according to our contract. Further, we only wished to bring this to their knowledge so that it would not happen to another family and cause undue stress in a time of mourning.  Unfortunately, neither of those two things happened, and the city continues lax burial practices by not implementing any procedures to protect this from happening to others in the future.  This is our joint statement, and we kindly ask for privacy while, even this far removed, we still mourn for our father, grandpa, and husband.” 

The family is to be paid the amount for the opening and closing of the plot and not for pain, suffering, or other damages.