South Memphis family says funeral home couldn’t tell them where their mother’s body was

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- A South Memphis family said the pain of losing their loved one was made even worse with the way the funeral home handled the cremation process.

Shakeitha Williams will always remember her final moments with her mom.

“I kissed her on the cheek and her eyes opened and I was like, 'Mama!,' and I did it again and she twerked her mouth up to kiss me, and I felt like she was letting me know she was OK,” said Williams.

She said her 62-year-old mother, Joyce Tate, died the next morning. Her passing came after a long battle with kidney failure, heart failure, cancer and diabetes.

But now, nearly two months later, she said she doesn’t know where her mother’s body is.

“It's not closure," said Williams. "I can't rest until I know my mother has rested.”

The family said they paid the Snow Funeral Home to cremate their mom and said the funeral home even rushed them for the payments.

Her ashes were supposed to be ready for her funeral on Nov. 4, but the funeral home pushed the cremation back a week.

“Then I called next week and, 'It'll be next week,'" she said. "I called the next week, 'It'll be next week,' and it's like how many weeks are we going to go?”

Too many weeks for a family in grieving.

“She was such a blessing to so many people, and for her not to be able to rest is a shame,” said Williams.

The family said they hadn’t gotten answers on where exactly the body was and what’s going on.

"It's their job to be respectful and make sure the grieving process goes through easily," said Isaac Tate, Williams' brother.

They said they’ve been calling to try to see their mom’s body for verification before cremation.

WREG's Bridget Chapman went to the funeral home and made calls to them all day on Wednesday, but after getting the runaround, we had Williams call them with us there.

And the latest update put her in tears.

“She’s been cremated and I’ll deliver her remains tomorrow,” the funeral home director said on the phone.

Sudden news after the family said they’d heard multiple excuses for weeks. The excuses were said to have mainly centered around a paperwork problem with the hospital.

But on our call on Wednesday, it was blamed on a broken machine.

When we pressed him for more information…

“I don’t want to talk to you," the funeral home director said on the phone. "I’ll talk to the family.”

A family that’s already been through enough this holiday.

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