DETROIT (WJBK) - A Detroit family says a funeral home they hired to pick up a loved one held the body hostage.
The family of Patricia Foy says they lost the 57-year-old too soon. But the tragedy of her death was made worse by what they say the funeral home did once they got her body.
Tamela Foy says a family member recommended Golden Gates Funeral Home in Detroit, so they hired them. The company arrived to pick up Foy's body from her Taylor home but family members say something didn't seem right. When Golden Gates arrived they felt something was wrong with the vehicle and the man driving was not prepared.
"Just a car with back seat laid down. He was by himself and she was overweight," Foy said. "He told me that by her being overweight we would have to do this funeral process within a few days because of her weight and the heat."
The family said they felt pressured and told the driver, Darius Hooper, to take the body. However, they did not give him the $6,000 he wanted to care for the body.
Then the family started doing research and found the company was not legitimate.
FOX 2 went to the address Gold Gates had listed as the business address. We didn't find a funeral home at the address - we found a burned out building.
So we tried calling numbers associated with the funeral home. They were all dead ends and we were unsuccessful in reaching the owner.
The state of Michigan has the answer to this mystery. According to officials, there is no licensed funeral establishment by that name or at that address, plus a cease & desist order was issued to Golden Gates Funeral Home May 2, 2016. That order is still in effect.
The family says they made several attempts to get the body back and initially got the runaround. Eventually, more than 24 hours after picking up Patricia, the funeral home released the body back to the family. It makes the family question what happened her in that day she was in someone else's hands.
"We have sick people in the world. Do you have a fetish with dead bodies?" Foy said. "I don't know what he was doing with her body that entire night and entire day. I don't know how she looks. If she's deteriorated, if we can have an open casket."
The family said they called multiple funeral homes but none of them would take the body, citing liability, except for House of Johnson.
"We couldn't get any funeral home and by grace of God the House of Johnson helped us out," Foy said.
The family says they are thankful they did not pay any money Golden Gates wanted and that's why they are sharing their story so no one else becomes a victim.