A funeral home in Ohio is under investigation by the state’s funeral director’s board for improperly storing 11 bodies, including one premature infant. The funeral home is denying improper storage and claims that the bodies were not cremated as planned because physicians failed to provide proper documentation to authorize the cremation of the bodies. The funeral home claimed that the bodies were embalmed, as is required by law, and then stored until the death certificates are received. According to the investigation, the bodies were stored in a damp room.
WNDU TV reported that details of the investigation are being kept under wraps, and neither the Ohio Board of Embalmers nor the funeral director are speaking out on the issue.
The bodies of 10 adults and one premature infant were discovered at the funeral home on Friday. Each of the bodies were stored in a damp room and were concealed inside of cremation boxes and body bags. Although details of the bodies were not readily provided, it was revealed that one of the bodies was in the room since at least January. There was no report on the condition of the bodies or if they were damaged in any way.
Vanessa Niekamp, the director of the executive director of the Ohio Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors, claims that there is evidence of violations in the funeral home and that a meeting will be held to determine whether the funeral home should lose its licensing as a result of the negligence.
According to ABC News, the coroner’s office has notified the families and informed them of the issue.
Niekamp reported that the most recently deceased body did not seem to be a concern, since it was not in the damp room for long and was on schedule to be cremated as per normal protocol. However, there was concern about the other bodies, although she would not release further details explaining why.
Five board members are expected to meet in a pubic hearing and discuss the issues at the funeral home in detail. Upon hearing and discussing the evidence, they will make a recommendation regarding the action to be taken toward the funeral home. Penalties could range from fines that will need to be paid and could be as detrimental as a suspended license. Representatives from the funeral home are allowed to attend the public hearing and observe the discussion. However, they are not able to speak on their behalf.
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