Family waits months for funeral home to release man's body

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A Palmer man who was shot and killed nearly nine months ago will be buried Friday after the resolution of a dispute between the man's family and a funeral company.

Julian "Eddie" Myers, 51, died Dec. 24. Myers' mother and sister claimed Janssen Funeral Homes demanded full payment of funeral charges, including services not ordered, before the company would release the body for burial, television station KTUU reported .

Janssen staff threatened to dispose of the body if the family did not pay by a specified date, said Dianne Myers, Eddie Myers' mother.

Scott Janssen, the funeral home owner, denied that happened and said his staff would never make such a threat.

His staff "had not made mistakes," Jansen said. "It's the worst thing in the world if a family is not happy about anything we do."

He declined to elaborate, citing the family's privacy.

Myers was an iron worker and father of three grown sons. His second son, Mark Myers, 24, is charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter in his father's death.

The criminal investigation delayed the settling of Myers' estate and payment for the funeral by the iron workers' union, family members said. The funeral home insisted the money had to be paid before the body would be released, Dianne Myers said.

"They knew there was a policy from the iron workers union to pay for the funeral but they were demanding cash payment," she said.

The funeral home charged $200 per week for storing the body, the family said.

"It is not acceptable for them to hold a body six months or eight months without burying it waiting for payment while they continue to rack up the bill," Myers' sister, Sharon Aubrey said.

By August the bill had climbed to more than $17,000. The itemized bill included services the family had not ordered, including makeup.

The funeral home in late August lowered the bill to a little more than $11,000 if payment was received within two weeks, family members said. On Tuesday, after the television station inquiry, the company lowered the bill to $3,500 and agreed to release the body without payment up-front, the family said.

"He's in a better place, but putting his body in the ground will be the final goodbye, and it will give us peace of mind and the boys have to have that," said Dianne Myers.


An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the initial bill was $17,500.


Information from: KTUU-TV,