Jacksonville family says their loved one was accidentally cremated before funeral

Family and friends had flown in from across the country to say their final goodbyes when they learned what happened

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Members of a Jacksonville family say they want answers after their loved one was accidentally cremated before his funeral took place.

Kevin Witherspoon, 50, described as a father, barber and jokester, died unexpectedly one week ago. Family members and friends flew in from across the country, and learned what happened.

His brother, Frank Chapman, made arrangements with Corey-Kerlin Funeral Homes and Crematory to lay him to rest.

“They took care of my mom really good, so I was expecting them to do the same thing with my brother,” Chapman said.

He says his family paid more than $2,000 for an hour-long visitation for family and friends.

Witherspoon, Chapman said, was supposed to be cremated afterward.

“I went down there yesterday to check on the clothes for him and they didn’t say nothing,” Chapman said. “They said everything was fine but later on around 4 (p.m.) they called me and told me they accidentally cremated him.”

The news — shocking for loved ones who traveled from all around the country to say their final goodbyes.

“There’s never gonna be closure in this family because there’s gonna be an open wound that’s never gonna heal,” Chapman said. “And it’s never gonna be forgotten, and they just did us real wrong. How you make a mistake like that, I don’t know.”

News4JAX called the funeral home, and the director said he would not comment on what happened.

“I’d just like for them to be responsible for this, and to be more careful for the next time for any other families who may be going through the same thing we’re going through,” Chapman said.

Witherspoon’s brother said the funeral home offered to refund some of the services.

About the Author:

Renee Beninate is a Florida native and award-winning reporter who joined the News4Jax team in June 2021.