Family tearful, confused as wait for cremated body persists


NAPLES PARK, Fla. — A family is distraught and searching for answers 17 days after turning the remains of a relative over to a funeral home to be cremated.

Garfield Funeral Care & Cremation Service promised to return the ashes within 72 hours, the family claims. However, acting Funeral Director Michael Gendron said cremations usually take seven to 10 business days and insisted it’s all a misunderstanding.

“I sincerely apologize for the time delay that’s happened here,” Gendron said.

The funeral home at 866 99th Ave N. has since told the family their ashes should be ready by Saturday.

It’s unclear what’s at the root of the confusion, though the owner of the funeral home has been on emergency sick leave, with Gendron filling in. The owner of the funeral home, Todd Garfield, pleaded guilty to charges of embezzling from another funeral home he worked for in 2008.

Regardless, the wait for the remains of 80-year-old Charles Kitchel has been excruciating for his loved ones.

“I don’t want somebody else to go through what we went through,” Kitchel’s son, Darrel Kitchel said. It’s horrible. It’s a horrible feeling. To lose your father and then to go through what we’re going through now.”

The family said they visited the funeral home three times while they waited. The home didn’t process the death certificate and other paperwork until Thursday, daughter Mindy Ringler said.

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