The New York Times: Nebraska woman Constance Glantz was declared dead and then found alive at funeral home

Alexandra E. Petri
The New York Times
2 Min Read
A Nebraska woman who was pronounced dead at a nursing home Monday was discovered breathing hours later by a funeral home employee, authorities said.
A Nebraska woman who was pronounced dead at a nursing home Monday was discovered breathing hours later by a funeral home employee, authorities said. Credit: RAIVO SARELAINENS/Raivo - stock.adobe.com

A Nebraska woman who was pronounced dead at a nursing home Monday was discovered breathing hours later by a funeral home employee, authorities said.

The woman, Constance Glantz, 74, of Lincoln, Nebraska, was brought to a hospital and declared alive, Chief Deputy Ben Houchin of the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office said at a news conference Monday.

“At this point we have not been able to find any criminal intent by the nursing home, but the investigation is ongoing,” he said.

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Glantz was receiving hospice care when she was pronounced dead at 9:44 a.m. by the nursing home staff at the Mulberry at Waverly in Waverly, Nebraska, Houchin said. An investigation by the sheriff’s coroner was not necessary at the time of death, he said.

The funeral home, which local news media has reported is Butherus-Maser & Love Funeral Home in Lincoln, transported someone “they believed was a deceased individual” from the nursing home, Houchin said. But an employee who began preparing Glantz’s body noticed she was still breathing. Two hours after she was declared dead, the staff called 911, he said.

Staff members were performing CPR on Glantz when emergency medical workers with Lincoln Fire and Rescue arrived, said M.J. Lierman, an agency spokesperson.

They treated Glantz at the scene and transported her to a hospital, Lierman said.

Glantz’s family has been notified, officials said. Authorities did not provide any additional details about Glantz, including how long she’d been in hospice or whether she had any medical conditions.

Investigators were looking into whether any laws were broken, but so far “we have not been able to determine anything,” Houchin said.

Calls to the nursing home were not answered Monday night.

“This is a very unusual case,” Houchin said. “I’ve been doing this 31 years, and nothing like this has ever gotten to this point before.”

While rare, there have been cases of people who were declared dead only to be found alive soon after.

In 2023, a woman in Iowa was taken in a body bag to a funeral home, where workers discovered that her chest was moving as she gasped for air.

In 2020, a woman in Michigan with cerebral palsy was declared dead by paramedics but was discovered to be breathing hours later by a funeral home worker who was preparing to embalm her body.

In 2018, a South African woman was pronounced dead at the scene of a car wreck but hours later was found breathing in a mortuary. And in 2014, a Mississippi man who had been pronounced dead was found alive inside a body bag at a funeral home.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

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