Sumbry Mortuary in Phenix City foreclosed -, GA News Weather & Sports

Sumbry Mortuary in Phenix City foreclosed, body repossessed

* Earlier we reported Arthur Sumbry, Jr. was the owner of Sumbry Mortuary. We've now corrected that to be Arthur Sumbry, Sr. * Earlier we reported Arthur Sumbry, Jr. was the owner of Sumbry Mortuary. We've now corrected that to be Arthur Sumbry, Sr.

By Taylor Barnhill  - bio | email 

PHENIX CITY, AL (WTVM) -  Russell County Sheriff's officials and moving trucks filled the parking lot of Sumbry Mortuary in Phenix City Tuesday as the business was gutted of all items. The company isn't moving, it's in foreclosure.

We're told Synovus Bank has owned Sumbry Mortuary since January of this year and because the Sumbry's haven't paid what is owed on the business, they had to get out

Owner and Phenix City Council member Arthur Sumbry, Sr. was nowhere to be seen as workers removed items from his funeral home on Seale Road.

News Leader Nine had a brief conversation with him: "Mr. Sumbry, can you talk about your funeral home?" He answered, "No." News Leader Nine asked, "Can you talk about the items that were being repossessed?" Again, he said, "No."

While workers from a local moving company filed out of the Sumbry Mortuary with church pews and other furniture, owner Arthur Sumbry Sr. carried out his duties as a city council member. His daughter, Sabrina Sumbry, was standing by as her family's business was loaded into the back of a truck. She says the entire foreclosure situation seems confusing and caught her off guard, "There's so much discrepancy between one attorney and the sheriff. This is dealing with the Synovus attorney and Sheriff Taylor, so there is a two-party thing with these two. We have a lawyer also and we're supposed to follow the order of the judge, and I don't think many people are doing that. They're doing their own thing."

The order from the judge she's referring to was passed down Friday, saying the Sumbry's had to leave the property immediately. Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor said, "I gave him the opportunity, as I would anyone, to move on his own without the sheriff's office showing up and supervising the moving out of any property he owned or his business owned."

Sheriff Taylor says he gave Arthur Sumbry Sr. until Monday to leave, but when that didn't happen, he had to forcefully remove his items, which will go into a storage facility.

Sheriff Taylor said, "It's their property, I just didn't want to sit it out on the street. People could walk by and steal it. We chose to put them in storage until they can properly retrieve their items from us."

As for the business, the Sumbry's say this won't keep them down. Sabrina Sumbry told News Leader Nine, "What's the next step for the funeral home? Keep moving, keep moving. I just say keep the faith and trust in God because we trust God."

There will be hearing between Synovus and Sumbry to see if he can make the payments to get his building back.

While movers were packing up the items from Sumbry Mortuary, Sheriff Heath Taylor says they stumbled upon exactly what you'd expect to find inside a funeral home, "There was a body in there and we're taking that body to the county morgue. We're going to speak to the family and we're going to have the family advise us as to where they want their loved one to go."

The body doesn't technically belong to the business, but the building was being cleared out, so it makes for a unique situation for the county to decide what steps to take.

"I think I am potentially the first sheriff in the history of this county who had to recover a body and its not an easy thing to do," explained Taylor.

The Russell County Coroner, Arthur Sumbry Jr., was the person responsible for transporting the body. Some may think that is a conflict of interest considering his family owns Sumbry Mortuary, but Sheriff Taylor says Sumbry Jr. has been cooperative, "At this point I don't see any actions on his part that would day that he was being biased or there was a problem or conflict in this situation."

While officials are placing all the property into storage until the foreclosure is figured out, they are still sorting out the details of what to do with the body.

"We want to be respectful of the family. It wasn't any fault of theirs that this is occurring. We're handling that with the utmost respect and we're trying to do that in the best way possible for everyone involved," added Sheriff Heath Taylor.

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