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13 Investigates: Rockford family says baby wasn’t given proper funeral, funeral home has multiple past violations

ROCKFORD (WREX) — Losing a loved one is never easy.

“He was spoiled, very spoiled,” said Kaitlin Waterman about her son. “He got the best life that we could have given him.”

Baby William Peyton was just four months old when he died of a rare disease. After he died, his parents say he wasn’t properly laid to rest.

“It’s a hundred times harder the second time,” Waterman said.

A few weeks ago, baby William’s casket was exhumed.

“They kicked us while we were down,” she said. “At our lowest point in life, they kicked us.”

Waterman and baby William’s father, William Peyton say Collins & Stone Funeral Home did not do the September funeral properly.

“It’s a pain that you honestly thought you’d never have to feel,” she added.

Waterman says Collins & Stone did not put William in a vault that her family paid for. After he was exhumed, no vault was there. The contract agreement between the funeral home and Waterman shows that she requested an $895 grave box and embalming, which costs $400. Water man says neither happened for baby William.

“He wasn’t embalmed so his body was getting really bad, really fast,” she said.

This isn’t the first time Collins & Stone has had issues. Through a Freedom of Information Act Request, 13 Investigates found that Funeral Director Brandy Collins has six previous violations with the state where she was either fined, reprimanded, put on probation or had her license suspended.

Those violations include “not participating in the at-need arrangements” for a person who died, failing to file death certificates in a timely manner and unprofessional conduct.

Most recently, in 2017, her Funeral Director and Embalmer License was suspended for 45 days and she was fined $4,000 for not filing death certificates in a timely manner.

Waterman said she filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, the state and plans to file a lawsuit.

She has a warning to other families, pay attention to the little things.

“Just pay attention to details,” she said. “They say they’re going to get something and you’re paying for it, just keep following through with them until the funeral to make sure that’s being done.”

Losing a loved one is never easy, but Waterman wants to make sure other’s don’t have to go through a funeral twice.

Baby William was exhumed on October 17, taken to another funeral home to be checked out and reburied within a couple of hours.

13 Investigates reached out to Collins & Stone more than five times to get their side of the story, they have not returned our calls.


James Stratton

James Stratton is the Evening Anchor at 13 WREX and reports for 13 Investigates He joined the team in August, 2018 after working at KWQC TV-6 in Davenport Iowa. His work in Illinois and Iowa has been awarded in both states, along with Edward R. Murrow and Emmy Awards at 13 WREX.

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