After the recent death of a friend, a local couple decided to buy make their own funeral arrangements along with buying their final resting place. But after a visit to the cemetery found spots that they bought and paid for were already occupied. Video by ktnv.comvideo
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) - A valley couple decides to buy their final resting place, after the death of a friend. But now they say the funeral home has sold their spot.
"My mother's buried out there, my uncle is buried out there," says Sharon Straeter.
Davis Memorial Park is a special place for Sharon and her husband Claude. It's full of memories and they've known for years it's where they wanted to be laid to rest.
"We went in and told them we wanted to pay for a complete package," says Sharon.
It was back in January of 2002, when Sharon and Claude bought crypts 11 and 12, on the east wall, at the Mousoleum of Roses. That way they could be together in eternal peace. Receipts show they paid more than $10,000.
"It was the very last of our savings. We wanted everything paid for," says Sharon.
Fast forward to 2012. It was early June, when Sharon and Claude decided to visit Davis Memorial on Eastern, near Sunset. And they couldn't believe what they found.
"And when we happened to go by this time, oops, we have a problem," says Claude.
They found someone else in one of their crypts. Sharon and Claude took a picture. It shows someone else's name on the crypt. Confused, they went to the office, where they spoke with an employee.
"He said let me see your deed. So we showed him the deed," says Claude.
The employee looked over their paperwork and then checked the crypt.
"And he came back in and he says I'm sorry to tell you, but I believe we have a mistake on our part," says Claude.
But Sharon says almost immediately, the employee started telling them, they still owed the funeral home money.
"I said it's paid in full. He said no it isn't," says Sharon.
Sharon and Claude point to paperwork filled out back in 2002, showing they paid in full. And they received paid in full certificates from the funeral home.
"The paperwork spells out the cemetery, everything, that the funeral is paid for. The limos are paid for. All this," says Claude.
Sharon and Claude say after discovering this, they were getting the run-around and decided to reach out to Contact 13.
"Everybody makes mistakes. But when I make the mistakes at least I own up to it and I try to correct it," says Sharon.
I called Davis Memorial Park and spoke with General Manager, Todd Noecker. He didn't want to go on camera, but emailed a statement. It seems the previous owners of Davis Memorial Park, may have caused the mix-up. According to Todd, records show not long after the crypts were purchased, a change was made. Sharon and Claude were actually upgraded to a new location within the mausoleum. But he says: "We find no record of the previous owner sending a deed to reflect that new location." Now, Todd says he's hoping to meet with Sharon and Claude, to explain in person.
"We don't owe them a dime," says Sharon.
Contact 13 shared Todd's explanation with Sharon and Claude. And they tell us they're more than willing to move to new crypts. But they still argue they paid in full, and Todd confirms the property, cemetery services, and cemetery merchandise are in fact paid for. Sharon and Claude say they're anxious to work things out, but have contacted a lawyer for help.
"I don't want to go in there alone. I want somebody to tell me it's okay to sign this or not sign," says Claude.
So here's the Contact 13 bottom line. Even when dealing with a funeral home, like any other purchase, get everything in writing and make sure to hold on to that paperwork. In the end, that's what's helping Sharon and Claude. We'll make sure to follow their story and bring you an update. And remember Las Vegas, we've got your back. If you're not getting the help you need, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll do what we can to help. For Contact 13, I'm Tricia Kean.
Statement from Davis Memorial Park:
In response to the concerns raised by Mr. & Mrs. Claude Straeter:
Davis Memorial Park has researched all the records relating to the cemetery property purchased by Mr. & Mrs. Straeter. Those records show that the Straeters do in fact own mausoleum crypts in Davis Memorial Park. At the time the Straeters selected the property, in January 2002, Davis Memorial Park was not owned by us. From our review of the records of the prior owner, it appears that, not long after their original purchase, the Straeters were upgraded to a new location within the mausoleum. We find no record of the previous owner sending a deed to reflect that new location. The property, cemetery services, and cemetery merchandise are paid in full.
Davis Memorial Park has asked to meet with the Straeter family so that we can review all the details of their purchase. Their satisfaction in this matter is our top priority.
Mr. Todd Noecker
Davis Memorial Park & Funeral Home