Funeral services halted over paperwork in Bakersfield

Family: Never got the chance to say goodbye

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - A family contacted 23 ABC after the funeral services for a family member was left unfinished at the grave site.

The family tells 23 ABC that the funeral services were halted at the grave site because the funeral home did not have all the final paperwork in place to complete the burial.

"We are devastated and emotionally traumatized. No family should ever have to go through this," said Roy Rowe, son in law.

Funeral home staff told the family that all the paperwork wasn't in order and that's why the burial could not be completed.

The Kern County Health Department says it’s a funeral home's responsibility to finish all paperwork before the final burial.

The family said they started the process with Hillcrest last Friday and even paid an additional $290 to expedite the procedure. The process should only take about two or three days from the time a funeral home requests a death certificate and has it completed by the time of burial.

"First we all dealt with the loss and now we never got the chance to say a proper goodbye. This is not how we wanted to remember our grandmother," said Ryan McGee grandson.

The Hillcrest Memorial Park made this statement:

We are very sorry for the family’s loss. We have a strict privacy policy of confidentiality with all our client families, and out of respect for the privacy of the families we serve, we are not able to share any details of the situation.

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