A Memphis funeral home featured in Netflix series accused of giving family wrong ashes

Published: Sep. 16, 2021 at 6:55 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A Memphis funeral home that’s featured in the Netflix series, “Buried by the Bernards,” is being investigated by the Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance.

R. Bernard Funeral Services is accused of giving a family the wrong ashes.

A complaint filed by Donato Velasquez claims that his wife died February 18, 2021, and was cremated by R. Bernard Funeral Services February 23. The family picked up the ashes March 4 along with her death certificate.

Velasquez claims he requested his wife’s ashes be put in an urn provided by the family. They did not open the urn until her birthday, July 19, and planned to spread the ashes.

When the family opened the urn, they discovered two pieces of paper in the bag.

The bag was tagged with disk number 450. One piece of paper inside the bag had the same disk number on it, but there was also paper in the bag with different information on it.

Velasquez says they called R. Bernard Funeral Services when they found out the paperwork did not match his wife’s information. They were told the funeral home would do some research and call them back. When the family was called back, they were told the disk number matches Velasquez’s wife’s information. However, Velasquez says the funeral home could not prove it.

In response to the complaint, R. Bernard Funeral Services claims that Velasquez’s wife was assigned disk number 450 for the cremation. On a table where her remains were being transferred from a temporary urn to the urn provided by the family, there were cremation labels for other deceased people scheduled for cremation. They were unaware that another person’s label was placed inside of her urn.

R. Bernard Funeral Services says they’ve checked their records and accidentally put another person’s papers inside of the urn, but Velasquez was given the right remains. The funeral home also agreed to reimburse the family for the memorial service expenses.

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