Batesville Funeral Home Faces Suspension After Cremation Mix-Up, Paperwork Errors


BATESVILLE, Ark. – A Batesville funeral home is facing a temporary suspension. This all started after it cremated the wrong body. 

The Arkansas State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors held a special meeting Wednesday where that suspension was issued. 

The formal suspension from the state says the funeral home cremated the wrong man on October 3rd. The funeral home says it didn’t know this was coming until we called Wednesday afternoon. 

Along the road in Batesville sits Willis Funeral Service. This is the place where mistaken identity caused a man to be accidentally cremated. 

“I think I’d like to get down to what happened, what the problem was,” Diana Gerrald said reacting to the news.

According to the funeral home’s attorney, the VA hospital had two bodies  and accidentally switched the men’s identities. One man was picked up by a different funeral home and was embalmed. The other was taken to Willis Funeral Service and cremated. 

“I know something has happened that cannot be undone. I’m sure the family is heartbroken,” Charlotte Pierce who lives in Batesville said. 

According to a temporary suspension order filed Wednesday, the state inspected Willis Funeral Service on December 5 and found a number of paperwork errors. 

The funeral home’s attorney says they were never issued a formal complaint and didn’t find out about the suspension until it was issued. 

People in Batesville say they are sad for the families, and lost loved ones, involved. 

“My heart goes out to them. I’m sorry this happened to you,” Gerrald said. 

We did reach out to the VA Hospital and are expected a statement soon. There will be a hearing next Thursday. Everyone involved is required to be there. 

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