ST. LOUIS COUNTY - Chadniece Elkins died December 14 of heart failure.
"You never think about burying your loved ones. That's my daughter," said Kim Miller.
Miller had Elkins' body sent to William C. Harris Funeral Home. She says at the funeral Monday, she was thrown for a loop.
"He [the funeral director] pulled me out of the funeral just like totally got my attention, walked me out and started talking about 'We can't bury your baby.' I said, 'She goin' back where?'" said Miller.
The funeral home says her family still owed for the burial, so they were going to bring her back to the funeral home until the money was paid. The family ended up taking up a collection at the funeral to get the money. Miller says the balance had been pledged by a nurse at Barnes.
"When you pledge money, that to me means the money is coming," said Miller. "So to embarrass me at my daughter's funeral, at the viewing, at the hour of the viewing. They stopped the music and everything."
NewsChannel 5 spoke with owner William C. Harris over the phone Thursday. He says they made several attempts to contact Kim Miller about the balance. The majority of which was for the cemetery.
"She knew it was due on Saturday. And she tried to play us for cheap and thought that we were going to, that she was going to owe us when we got through," said Harris.
He says this situation is not new.
"It's starting to happen on a regular basis. And the thing about it is it's nothing more than families that are trying to be slick and trying to defraud the funeral homes," he said.
Harris says the bottom line is if the cemetery hasn't been paid, no burial will take place. But there's an easy way to avoid that.
"We can't educate our people enough on how important it is to have insurance. But other things are more important like beauty shop visits, nail shop visits," said Harris.
Miller says they had insurance, but the payment hasn't been made.