updated 4/28/2011 11:56:33 AM ET 2011-04-28T15:56:33

A woman is suing Continental Airlines, claiming that the carrier lost the remains of her common-law husband, the Monitor reports.

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Martha Elena Flores Cura and her niece, Ludivina Rivera, filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court earlier this month in McAllen, Texas. The lawsuit claims that Continental lost the remains of Humberto Rivera in August 2009 while transporting his casket from Atlanta to McAllen.

"You can imagine the toll that would be on a family where a loved one was supposed to be delivered," attorney Javier Villarreal told the Monitor. "It's very disturbing."

In the lawsuit, Rivera claims that she hired a driver to pick up her uncle's body at the McAllen-Miller International Airport on Aug. 21, 2009. But the driver learned from the funeral home in Atlanta that the remains would be sent on a flight three days later.

The driver met with a Continental representative the day before the remains were to arrive in McAllen, only to discover that someone had already picked up the casket.

"Continental advised (the driver) that the body was missing and that it was not Continental's problem," according to the lawsuit.

The driver filed a police report, and Humberto Rivera's remains were discovered 11 hours later at a funeral home in Brownsville, Texas.

A Continental spokesperson told the Monitor that she could not comment on pending litigation.

A hearing is set for June 8.

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