ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — A Rockford couple who had to bury their 4-month-old after a fatal illness now claim the funeral home buried him against their wishes, and are now having his body exhumed this week.
At just 4-months-old, William was diagnosed with a rare genetic disease and passed away shortly after.
“It hurts. It hurts because we feel like we failed him,” said William’s mother, Kaitlin Waterman.
The family is now saying the funeral home they used didn’t put his casket in a vault as they had requested.
“We found out that he doesn’t have a vault placed there,” said Kaitlin. “We’re hoping and praying that the casket hasn’t caved in, because then that would just add way more hurt and pain to our family, because we did our best. While he was here, he went through a lot. He was always sick. Then we found out he had a rare disease before he had passed away.”
A representative for Collins and Stone Funeral Home, located at 128 S 5th Street, said the burial vault wasn’t used because the family had not paid for it in time.
But, William’s parents also said the condition his body was in during his funeral had them questioning the funeral home’s practices.
“We questioned if he was embalmed, because we clearly seen he was frozen. There’s a charge for $400 for embalming, which [Collins and Stone] didn’t do,” said Stephanie Waterman, William’s grandmother. “[The funeral director] said that she put a topical embalmment on his skin.”
Kaitlin said, “During the funeral, she had to keep patting my baby’s little face to get the moisture off, because he was frozen. His lips were really dark, really, really dark, like black, damn near, because they were so dark. His whole face just doesn’t look like him at all.”
The family did deny an autopsy and said they wanted William’s body to remain intact.
Collins and Stone said that’s why the baby wasn’t embalmed.
William’s body will be exhumed on Thursday.