State Inspectors Discover Funeral Home Nightmare

State Inspectors Discover Funeral Home Nightmare

On this Halloween night, the story of a funeral home nightmare. A body that wasn't buried for five months.
MEMPHIS, TN ( - On this Halloween night, the story of a funeral home nightmare. A body that wasn't buried for five months.

The state of Tennessee said the funeral home owners misrepresented themselves as being licensed funeral directors and embalmers.

According to the state, the funeral home owners had a license for the business, but were not licensed to actually perform funerals and embalm bodies.

"Family Mortuary" is in North Memphis in a small house. The state says a body sat in that house for five months before finally being buried.

At Galilee Memorial Gardens in Bartlett, a flag is the only marker showing where Linda Terry was finally laid to rest.

For her church Pastor Thomas Alston it's disturbing.

“It hurts when you find out the person has laid there,” Alston said.

Pastor Alston performed the eulogy at All Saints Temple of Deliverance Church. He assumed Terry would be buried shortly afterwards.

“I didn't know what day. I didn't know if it was going to be the next day or two. I knew it wouldn't be that day,” Alston said.

Terry might still be sitting at the Family Mortuary Funeral Home on Jackson Avenue if state inspectors hadn't shown up for an unannounced visit.

According to state documents, in May 2012, a funeral home inspector found Terry's body in the preparation room severely deteriorating. The state ordered the funeral home owners bury the body immediately.

Cemetery worker Cory Taylor was at the burial.

“There was odor coming out of the casket as soon as the hearse opened you could smell it. It was sickening to your stomach,” Taylor said.

The funeral home owner didn't want to talk about it. Her husband Essie Williams did have something to say.

“That happened months ago we cleared it with the state board,” Williams said.

In addition to not burying the body, the state says the owners are not licensed funeral directors or embalmers but gave the impression that they were to potential customers. On top of that, another employee who was also not a licensed funeral director signed off on certain documents implying that he too had a license.

Both funeral home owners drove away from us before we got their response to those claims.

As for Terry's body, according to records, Williams told the state inspector he didn't know how long he planned to keep the body, but relatives owed family mortuary money. Something family members deny.

Regardless, if or how much money was due, the state funeral board ruled the owners of Family Mortuary behaved immorally and unprofessionally. Adding no family should have to endure something like this.

Terry's family didn't want to do an on camera interview. But off camera said they are very upset.

They are glad Terry's body is now buried and some day hope to have enough money to pay for a headstone.
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