Cremations suspended at Memphis funeral home after mix up

By Anna Marie Hartman - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - The State Board of Funeral Directors has suspended cremations at High Point Funeral Chapel after a former employee blew the whistle on a mix up that resulted in the cremation of the wrong body.

When Billie Sue Smith died last June, loved ones thought the High Point Funeral Chapel had fulfilled her wish to be cremated.

Eight months later, Smith's body was found buried under the headstone of a complete stranger as her daughter Katherine McClamrock looked on.

On Tuesday, the State Board of Funeral Directors suspended cremations at High Point Funeral Chapel until a formal hearing is conducted.

While the state investigates, attorney Jeff Rosenblum is prepared to file a civil suit against the funeral home on behalf of Smith's family.  Rosenblum said he thinks he can win with or without the board's opinion.

"There are very few cases I can say this about," Rosenblum said.  "I don't need their help, this was so egregious."

McClamrock said she did not feel good after learning of the funeral chapel's mistake.

"The callous handling of my mother's body," McClamrock said, "it just doesn't make me feel good."

Memorial Park Funeral Home volunteered to put Billie Sue Smith to rest in the manner she requested.

"This is just a service we wanted to offer them at no cost," said Jason Dixon with Memorial Park Funeral Home.

Dixon personally escorted Smith's body from the medical examiner's office to the crematorium.

"I'm pretty sure I've got mom's ashes now," McClamrock said.  "That's a good thing."

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