BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – An ongoing battle over the final resting place of a murdered homeless man has left his sister struggling to negotiate with local officials for payment of cremation and burial expenses more than six weeks after his death.

Crystal Phillips, from Seattle, is facing obstacles from Bloomington Township in Indiana, where her older brother, Shaquille Phillips, was killed in a machete attack at a homeless camp. Despite being eligible for burial assistance as an indigent resident, Crystal is still haggling with the township trustees over the costs, which amount to $1,500 for cremation and $2,965 for a basic burial.

After raising money on a GoFundMe account, Phillips was informed by the township that the funds must first go towards covering the basic cremation or burial costs before any additional expenses, such as a burial plot or stone grave marker, can be considered.

Phillips attempted to appeal this decision but was told that she would need to appear in person before the county commissioners. Despite efforts to arrange for a Zoom hearing, she was ultimately denied the possibility of attending the appeal remotely.
Frustrated and feeling dehumanized by the process, Crystal Phillips expressed her determination to continue fighting for her brother’s final resting place.