Funeral home donates headstone after grieving Garfield Heights father’s money stolen

Published: Aug. 8, 2023 at 10:16 PM EDT
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GARFIELD HEIGHTS, Ohio (WOIO) - A family finally has a final resting spot for their loved one nearly one year after the death of a beloved daughter and mother.

Back in June, 19 News Troubleshooters told you they paid $1,600 for a headstone they never received.

But after our story aired, something amazing happened.

“It just brought tears to my eyes because I didn’t expect anything like that,” said Brian Williams, father of the late Brittany Williams. “I met up with my son the first time when we were here and he just cried and cried, you know he was relieved like me.”

Brian Williams is relieved and comforted knowing his daughter, Brittany, finally has a proper burial site.

She passed away on Aug. 24, 2022.

He said he paid a now-former employee at Eric J. Williams Funeral Home $1,600 for her headstone, but he never got it.

Instead, Williams said he was left with excuses and an empty lot at a cemetery, instead of a monument.

That’s when he called the 19 Troubleshooters and we immediately got to work.

After the funeral home ignored our emails, we visited them in person. We were told the owner would call us. He never did, leaving Brian to wonder if he’d ever get his daughter’s headstone.

The next day, we received an email from Adam Sanden, president of Brunner Sanden Deitrick Funeral Home.

“He said he saw the story and he wanted to do something about it,” said Brian.

Sanden re-created exactly what Brian wanted for his daughter’s headstone, making it even bigger than he’d originally paid for, and got it in the ground as soon as it was done.

“It’s refreshing that somebody else cared enough to fix somebody else’s mistake for my family,” said Brian.

Brian said it’s the closure his family needed to heal, especially Brittany’s 5-year-old son.

“For him to actually know where she’s at and to see a picture, and his mother’s name on it, it helps him out a whole lot,” said Brian. “That’s all he’s talking about now. ‘My mommy has a pretty picture, my mommy has a pretty picture.’”

A pretty picture and an unbelievable act of kindness, and Brian said it wouldn’t have happened without 19 News.

“I never thought that this was going to happen at all,” said Brian. “Never thought so. That’s why I’m glad you guys came and I really really thank you guys, appreciate it. Because this wouldn’t have gotten done if you wouldn’t have aired my interview.”

Brian said he has family constantly visiting Brittany’s grave site now that her headstone is in.

As for Eric J. Williams funeral home, they fired that employee accused of stealing.

I called again to see if they have plans to ever reimburse Brian.

19 News is still waiting for a call back from the owner.

A family finally has a final resting spot for their loved one after it took nearly a year to...
A family finally has a final resting spot for their loved one after it took nearly a year to get it.(Katie Wilson)