Spokane man wants closure following lengthy cremation process - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Spokane man wants closure following lengthy cremation process

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SPOKANE, Wash. -

All I want is my mom back. That's what one local man was saying after he claims a cremation business has given him the runaround about where his mother's remains have been since they were picked up 25 days ago. He said he was getting nowhere on his own, so he said "Help Me Hayley."

"She had very, very kind eyes," said Bryon Shell of his late mother, Mary Ann. "She dedicated her life to her family."

Bryon Shell still can't believe his beloved mom is gone. She suffered heart failure last month. She died with her loving family by her side February 6th.

"Everybody needs that place to go when they lose somebody," he said.

Bryon and his brother always hoped that place would be an urn filled with their mom's ashes.

"She had a niche picked out since 1979," he said. "She had visited that niche. She knew that's where she would be placed."

The brothers said they immediately contacted Simple Cremation of Spokane after their mom died. They said they were told they needed to pay the $695 bill for services upfront. It took 10 days, but they were able to pay it in full by February 16th.

"We were told it would basically take three days for the cremation to take place," Bryon said.

But Bryon and his brother said that time came and went with nothing. That's when they said they called again to verify it had been done.

"At that time, they stated no," Bryon said. "(They said) they did not have a signed death certificate.

That's when the family started questioning the process. Bryon claims the funeral director, Michael J. Galaviz, became harder to get a hold of.

"It took calling (Hayley) to get any phone call back from him," Bryon alleged.

Hayley immediately started digging into the situation. She had no problem connecting with Galaviz after calling Simple Cremation's phone number listed on their website. Galaviz agreed to provide a statement for the story. A full version is included below.

The statement said the body was picked up on February 17th, shortly after payment came through. Galaviz wrote that they didn't receive a permit to perform cremation from the local health department until March 3rd. The date of cremation is listed as March 9th. That is 15 businesses days after the body was picked up.

"The amount of elapsed time from the date of receiving the disposition permit and to the date of cremation is a common period with our company and subcontractor to perform a cremation," Galaviz wrote.

Hayley called several other local companies who perform cremations to get their average time range for completing the service. They told her between three and 10 business days.

"Our company disclosed to (the family) that there is no implied agreement or guarantee when the cremation will be performed or when the cremated remains will be available," Galaviz wrote in the statement.

And while Bryon disputes that, he is grateful to get answers. He said he just wishes he could have got them right away.

"If I didn't tell him (that I reached out to KHQ,) how much longer would it have been?" he said.

The family did pick up their mother's ashes Monday afternoon, shortly after interviewing with Hayley. Bryon said the process has been draining, only adding to their grief.

"(My mom) was an amazing person," he said. "She did deserve better than that."

During this investigation, we did come across other complaints associated with Galaviz. For more information on that, visit: https://fortress.wa.gov/dol/dolprod/bpdLicenseQuery/FinalNoticeDisplay.aspx?ImageRef=2021110414444093

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