A Greek funeral director in Melbourne is under police investigation, accused of stealing gold jewellery and clothing from a dead woman, A Current Affair (ACA) has reported.
82-year-old Teresa Moraitis paid Peter Tziotzis of Orthodox Funeral Services $10,200 for a traditional Greek open-casket service for her daughter Helen in August this year.
Ms Moraitis wanted a full embalming of Helen’s body, and also asked for clothing, a gold chain with a stone heart, two bracelets and a diamond ring to be placed on her daughter.
During the funeral service, Tziotzis is accused of telling the family the casket had to remain shut because the “coroner had put a lock on it.”
“I was screaming and crying,” Ms Moraitis told ACA. “I wanted to see my daughter and all my relatives wanted to see her to say goodbye.”
After months of agony, Ms Moraitis made the decision to exhume her daughter’s remains from the above ground mausoleum at the Lilydale Memorial Park.
According to ACA, three embalmers and an evidence-collecting film crew inspected the body and found Helen’s naked remains bundled in a blue body bag, her arm twisted behind her head. Thousands of dollars of gold jewellery and clothing was also missing.
When questioned about the issue, Tziotzis refused to explain why the jewellery and clothing were missing, and deferred questions to the coroner “because they’re the ones that took her into their care.”
Following the exhumation, Victoria Police detectives raided Tziotzis’ Wheelers Hill home and his funeral parlour in Oakleigh South, seizing what they allege was the missing clothing and jewellery.
Tziotzis was interviewed and released pending further investigation.
Funeral industry experts have said allegations in this case are not an industry norm, but they are proof urgent reform is needed.
Source: A Current Affair.