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Parents File Complaint Against Funeral Home For Untimely Service

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RALEIGH, N.C. — A Wake Forest couple filed a complaint Monday with the state Board of Funeral Service and Better Business Bureau alleging a funeral home did not return their daughter's ashes in a timely manner.

Lauren Utterback died at WakeMed after she was born prematurely on Oct. 19. At the time of her death, her parents, Susheila and Derek Utterback, signed a document that said the parents could expect to wait about a month for the ashes to be returned.

The Capital Funeral Home and Cremation Society of North Carolina, however, did not pick up the baby's remains for about a month and then did not return them to the family until Jan. 6 -- 11 weeks after the child's death.

The owner of the funeral home, Larry Parker, apologized for the delay, saying that it should have never taken 11 weeks for the Utterbacks to get their daughter's remains. He partially blames an increase in business over the holidays and a decrease in his staff.

Neither the hospital nor the funeral home knows why it took so long for the cremation service to pick up the child's body.

"There may have been some administrative reason the paperwork was incomplete," said Kathleen Privette, a WakeMed spokeswoman. "We cannot release it to the funeral home until the paperwork is complete."

WakeMed says it is committed to helping families, like the Utterbacks, in difficult situations.


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