Families of loved ones who disappeared to obtain ashes from a bankrupt funeral home

OMAHA, Neb. (Nebraska)-Goldie Wright passed away last November and, for four months, her family says they attempted to obtain the ashes from the Kremer Funeral Home.

“Where is she? Why can’t we take her home? It’s been enough time,” said her granddaughter, Tracy Leonard.

After three months, Billy Lorenz’s family has the same questions and frustration.

“You pay money for a service you don’t get,” partner Jan Hawkins told 6 On Your Side. “That’s a body. That was a human being.

The doors to Kremer Funeral Home remain closed, but 6 On Your Side has received a message from the owner, Travis Sheffield. He said he’s out of town on a family medical issue, but promises to be in the office Monday, March 27 from 9:30 to 3:00 and to stay open those hours through Friday.

Family members hope those doors will reopen as promised next Monday so they can get the most important valuable: the remains of their loved ones. But questions remain about death certificates and preneed policies.

Sheffield’s message says he will release any ashes and death certificates. He will also answer questions regarding prepaid funeral arrangements currently on file. Brian Roeder, president of the Nebraska Funeral Directors Association, has answers about prepaid prepaid contracts.

“Any amount of insurance money set up through Kremer Funeral Home should be available,” he said. “It is fully protected. All that money is there. I can’t speak to individual funeral homes, if they will honor those same prices.

Roeder says Kremer customers waiting for months for the ashes of loved ones is far from standard industry practice.

“This is an extreme case,” he said. “Usually it’s a couple weeks tops, or even a couple days is what it should be.”

We hope Aunt Goldie’s ashes join other family urns soon. Looking forward to four months, the Leonards can’t help but wonder.

“Was she cremated? Or was she not cremated? Is she still in limbo?” relative Jeremy Leonard asked.

But a Kremer rep assured 6 on your side all remains that are in the morgue are ashes and properly documented to be in the correct urns.

“She needs to be put to rest,” Tracy said. “She needs peace.”

So Goldie’s family says, after four months, all that’s left is a celebration of her life.

“You really can’t have a party and invite his friends if we don’t have his ashes to be there,” she said.

As the bankruptcy case has been dismissed, Sheffield is solely responsible for the operations of the Kremer Funeral Home. A check of the state website says the facility still has a license. The Nebraska DHHS cannot confirm or deny whether there is an investigation.

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