Mail stopped after post office gets it dead wrong

Mail stopped after post office gets it dead wrong »Play Video
Letter incorrectly returned to sender as deceased for customer who's still living.
YAKIMA, Wash. -- Rain, sleet and snow might not stop the post office from delivering your mail, but some bad information can.

A woman here in Yakima wound up playing catch up when she wasn't getting her bills. KIMA caught up with her to find out what went wrong and whether the post office plans to do anything about it.

There's one thing 88-year-old Esda Ausink wants you to know about her existence.

"I'm here," says Esda Ausink. "I'm old, but I feel like I'm being pushed."

Esda felt pushed sometime in January when she says she stopped getting her mail.

"It's something that caused an immense amount of problems for me," Ausink said.

The retired county employee got wind of the real problem when she started getting calls. One of them from the Washington State Retirement System that got her income tax information returned to sender marked "deceased.

"Someone at the Post Office has to be responsible," Ausink said.

She's right. She tried to get an answer herself, but never heard anything back. So, we took it to the Post Office.

A spokesperson told KIMA there was a new carrier assigned to Esda's route late last year. At one point, her mailbox was too full to deliver and that a next-door neighbor told the carrier that she was dead. No confirmation was made beyond that.

However, the Postal Service's own website says this should only happen when it is known the addressee is deceased and can't be delivered to another person. The Post Office spokesperson responded the carrier later found out the neighbor who provided the misinformation had dementia. It would not comment on whether any disciplinary action was taken against the carrier who remains on the same route.

Despite the mistake, it was up to Esda to make sure her bills and bank statements kept coming.

"When you're 88 years old, the last thing you want to do is go around to different companies and let them know that you're still alive," says daughter Cindy Ausink.

Esda is getting her mail again.

"Just people wanting money," she says after emptying her mailbox.

She says it wasn't fun, but admits it could have been worse after surviving this accidental death.

"I'm old, but I'm not there yet."