South Memphis woman gets mom’s remains mailed to her after funeral home confusion

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- This week we’ve been sharing the anguish a South Memphis woman is going through trying to get answers about her mother’s remains.

Joyce Tate died almost two months ago, and Shakeitha Williams has had trouble tracking down her body since then.

On Friday, WREG’s Bridget Chapman was there when she found her mother’s remains in the last place she wanted to.

It was a package Williams didn't order, but one that carried more emotion than she could ever imagine.

"The deceased name: Joyce Tate," she read after opening the cardboard box.

Tate died in October after a long battle with medical issues.

"My mama's a fighter," said Williams. "She's going to fight, and the last fight my mama fought, you just knocked her out."

Williams had been trying to track down her mom's body since her death. She said Snow Funeral Home gave her a range of excuses for delays in getting her cremated.

They told her Wednesday they'd hand-deliver the ashes Thursday in an urn, but then a postal worker delivered them Friday morning instead.

A cardboard box stuffed with envelopes in a box -- no note in sight.

"My holiday was already ruined because my mama's not here, now you ship her to me like she's nothing," said Williams. "That's the worst gift you could ever get for Christmas."

WREG's calls to the funeral home haven't been met with many answers the past few days. On Friday, we went to the owner's house, but no one came out to speak with us. Over the phone, they gave their reasoning for mailing the remains.

"We didn`t feel comfortable going to their household when we've had all types of people calling us obscene things."

Snow Funeral Home has been operating out of a trailer since their business caught fire in 2013.

They've been given civil penalties by the state since then for not having a fixed place of business, not carrying the proper licenses on them and not submitting records. The business has also been fined for overcharging two families.

The state is now investigating Williams' complaint involving her mom.

"She was a soldier -- fought every time," said Williams.

And now Williams is fighting to find out why it took so long to cremate her mother.

A crematorium technician told us it should take one to seven days from death.

Williams' mom died October 23, but her ashes didn’t show up until more than seven weeks later.

Snow Funeral Home wouldn't talk to us about what caused the delay in this process, but Williams said through this pain, her thoughts are with them.

"I'm going to pray for you," she said. "I'm going to pray for you."