A Memphis funeral home director has been fined and had his license to practice in Tennessee revoked by the state. The reasoning behind this? Holding deceased bodies captive from their family.
Back in 2017, Terrin Ellis and his sister were looking into the Signature Funeral Home by Premier after their mothers’ passing. They did some research and met with someone named Bevis Bell at the company’s place in Memphis.
After thinking the prices were just a bit too high for them, they had decided to go elsewhere. They told Bell this and assumed what anyone else would, that they’d be on their way afterwards. That wasn’t exactly the case though.
The pair were shocked to find that Bell had already take their mothers body and embalmed her.
“He told us he already picked our mom up and embalmed her, we didn’t discuss nothing, didn’t sign nothing.” Ellis said.
After both Ellis and his sister said that they wanted to have their mother body moved elsewhere, Bell then said they must pay a total of $1,075 before the company would release their mother.
Just a day later, Bell then raised the price to $2,175 to cover fees for removal, embalming, consultation, and storage.
Justice to Ellis and other families
Ellis and his sister made accusations against Bell back in 2017, reporting them to the State Department of Commerce and Insurance. Since then, investigations have found that the Ellis family isn’t the only one to suffer at the hands of the funeral home.
In fact, two more families experiences the same thing at the funeral home. Their family members had already been taken and embalmed and basically held captive from them.
Further investigations revealed that Bell hadn’t even had a license with the state of Tennessee since the year 2000. The funeral director, Roland Gosey, was also revoked of his license to practice in Tennessee due to these situations.
Even after Ellis’ and his sister’s initial complaint in late 2017, it took a while year and a half for the state’s investigation to take place and come to a close. Since the investigation had started, Gosey closed the funeral home himself.
“It shouldn’t take that long to handle a case like this. It’s not an animal that got killed. It’s someone’s family member, somebody’s mom.” Ellis said.
State officials say that it’s difficult to hurry cases like this because sometimes they tend to be incorrect or completely untrue.
Gosey, who had his license revoked, also has a license in Arkansas. The Arkansas state officials have been notified and are aware of his actions and allegations in the Tennessee investigation but won’t make any further comments. He’s still currently running his funeral business in Arkansas.