A South Sound family learned the cemetery spaces, purchased by their mother, had been sold right out from under them as she was dying.
“She was a very caring woman,” said Candies Wheeler about his mother, Jewel.
This summer, when Jewel was dying, her son discovered the depth of his mothers’ love.
Candies and his wife, Deborah, learned that Jewel had already purchased spaces at Sunset Hills Memorial Park in Bellevue for the entire family.
“She’s just one of a kind, that was my mom,” said Candies.
So, with that information, Candies went to the cemetery to make arrangements. That’s when he said their staff gave him crushing news.
“I couldn’t believe it,” said Candies
It appeared there was a paperwork error. Jewel had purchased six spaces, but the cemetery only had records for two.
“This was supposed to be our family plot that we paid for,” said Candies.
Candies said the rest of the spaces his mother worked so hard to purchase had been sold to other families.
“Disrespect, painful. Straight out suffering, mentally, you know. I’m still not right behind this,” said Candies
Candice and Deborah said managers wrote and signed a note admitting that Jewel owned six spaces.
“I didn’t know that they had changed hands, maybe a number of times, but that’s still no excuse for their bookkeeping to be out of whack. That’s not our problem,” said Deborah.
That problem lead to a simple question.
“And I said well why don’t you take the people out of the graves that we paid for? And they go, oh well, we can’t do that. I said what do you mean you can’t do that?” said Candies.
The couple said Sunset Hills offered to buy the spaces back.
“He came back to me real fast and said, we’ll give you $1,000 for each grave and I’m like, huh,” said Candies.
The records I’ve obtained show Jewel had already paid more than $50,000 for the spaces.
That’s when I got involved. After I called the cemetery, the family has just accepted an exceptional offer.
In a statement Dignity Memorial, the owners of Sunset Hills said-
“As part of our commitment to all of our client families, we guard their privacy and because of this, we do not discuss specific client concerns with the media. Instead it is our policy to work to resolve any possible concerns directly with client families.”
The family wanted to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else, so they took their complaint to the state Funeral and Cemetery Board. I’ve been told the case is currently under investigation.
Candies and Deborah wanted to make sure Jewel got exactly what she paid for.
“My mom wanted us all together,” said Candice. “Even if everybody didn’t want it that way. She wanted it that way,” said Deborah.
A couple of things: First- ask your loved ones if they have made plans for their funeral. Secondly, it would be good to double check if your paperwork matches the cemetery’s. Finally, if you have a problem with a cemetery you can file a complaint with the state’s Funeral and Cemetery Board.