ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – Family members of a Palmer man shot and killed in December say they have had to wait nearly nine months for the release of his body from a funeral home.

Anchorage television station KTUU reports the family of Julian Myers was told it could not schedule a funeral until full payment had been made to Anchorage-based Janssen Funeral Homes.

Myers’ funeral has been scheduled for Friday and the funeral home lowered the bill from more than $17,000 to $3,500 after the television station made inquiries into the dispute.

Janssen Funeral Homes owner Scott Janssen denies claims made by the family that the company held the body hostage or threatened to dispose of the body if the family didn’t pay by a specified date.

Myers was shot and killed Dec. 24. A son is charged in the case.

An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the initial bill was $17,500.

Information from: KTUU-TV,