GREELEY, Colo. (CBS4) – A Greeley man was alive and well when he found out he was listed in the obituaries in the Greeley Tribune.
Edgar Balderrama wasn’t even suffering from so much as a cold when friends and family started calling and offering their condolences.
Erica Balderrama, his wife, told CBS4 that Balderrama’s sister was responsible for the fake obit. She says she lied about the death to get out of work and that relations between the siblings are now very strained.
“She (explained to work that she) had a family emergency that turned into a death that she needed time off,” said Erica. “She had missed a lot of days of work and that was her way to get out of it.”
Edgar is recovering from surgery and wasn’t able to talk about the situation, but Erica agreed to an interview and read a section of the obit to CBS4: Edgar Balderrama, 28, of Greeley, died on January 23rd, 2012. Edward was a real hard worker. He had a great sense of humor and would make everybody laugh.
Erica says will never forget the day she was told her husband had passed away.
“He was like, ‘Yeah. It’s in the paper. My cousin has the obituary.’ His cousin actually came crying with the newspaper in her hand,” she said.
It was shocking to her because she had seen her husband just hours before.
“I was like, ‘This is it, this is him, but then I thought ‘No, he’s at work’ because I had just seen him that morning,” said Erica. “He got really sad, you know, if that happened to you, you would be like, ‘Why would somebody do that to me?'”
Erica went to the Greeley Tribune and was given Edgar’s handwritten obituary that officials with the paper said was turned in by his sister.
Erica told CBS4 she and her husband are so upset that they have taken their relative’s pictures out of their wedding photo album. The sister is now facing a harassment charge.
The Greeley Tribune’s editorial staff says they have reviewed their policies and procedures for accepting obituaries and have made the appropriate changes so this type of situation doesn’t happen again.