W. Wichita funeral home’s closing temporary, owner says

WICHITA, Kan. For the second time in as many years, a west Wichita funeral home is forced to close.

The owner of Bethea Funerals and Cremations at 615 W. Maple says the state temporarily closed his business because he didn’t have a licensed funeral director.

Last year, the state seized the funeral home for having more than $61,000 in sales and withholding taxes.

The funeral home’s owner says the closure won’t last long.

Last year, Brittany Bidwell trusted the funeral home with her mother’s body. When the Kansas Department of Revenue seized the business, the body was still inside the building.

"It kind of freaked me out a little bit because I wasn’t sure what was going on because she was already there," Bidwell says. "I didn’t know if they moved her beforehand or not, so I was really worried about getting my mom’s remains back."

Things worked out that time as Bidwell was able to make other arrangements for her mother. But with the business closed again, she’s worried this could be a pattern.

"Mostly my concern is, I hope people really look into the background of the place they’re trying to use, just to be careful and very cautious because sometimes, like if we had paid that funeral home, we would have been out a lot of money and with no way to take care of my mom’s remains," Bidwell says.

Bethea’s owner says the Kansas State Board of Mortuary Arts made him close his doors because his licensed funeral director left.

The funeral home’s owner says he’s working to get a new licensed funeral director and himself should be back to practicing after he gets things clarified in the next couple weeks.

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