Family wins $3.5 million judgment against Belle Glade funeral home, says doors are still open

Posted at 7:42 PM, Aug 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-26 04:20:31-04

Ronda Mitchell's mother died in 2014. Two years later, her nightmare continues.

“I have a lot of unanswered questions,” Mitchell says. “It's like I'll never have peace.”

Mitchell went to Taylor, Smith and West in Belle Glade to have her mother cremated in June of 2014.

She claims after four months of getting the run around, the funeral home finally provided her a box with ashes.

Suspicious, she checked with the crematory - which told Mitchell they never received the body from the funeral home.

“My mom's body is still out there…I don't know where she's at,” she says.

That was not the first time a family accused Taylor, Smith and West of the unthinkable.

NewsChannel 5 spoke to Tiesha Mack in 2014, who claimed she received the wrong ashes after her baby died.

“I’m thinking that my child is cremated, but all the while his body is here,” she told us during our interview.

In 2015, Janet Grandison said her husband's body wasn't properly embalmed.

“I want to ask them why….why did they do him like that,” she said in 2015.

The state finally shut down Taylor, Smith and West last August.

However, a trip to that former business Thursday revealed another funeral home in it's place,

“The owner… went and got another funeral director, uses his license, changes the name, and just continues with the business,” Mitchell’s attorney Vince Pravato says.

That funeral home didn't respond to a request for comment, nor was anyone from the funeral home in court Thursday, as a jury awarded a $3.5 million judgment to Mitchell.

She says her mission goes beyond the money.

“I want them to be closed down, and I want everyone who was involved to get locked up.”

We did ask the state about the reopening of the funeral home.

Officials say the owner transferred the license from another funeral home they own in Palm Beach County to the Belle Glade location.

Mitchell's attorneys say the next step is to try to collect the money from the funeral home's owners.