COLUMBIA, Mo. (CN) – The state’s attorney general has filed a suit seeking to shut down a funeral home that allowed bodies to be stored without refrigeration or embalming more than 10 months. A recent state inspection found that the Warren Funeral Chapel stored bodies without refrigeration or embalming for more than 24 hours, and in some case more than 10 months, along with soiled caskets that were reused and a dirty embalming room and other unsanitary conditions.
Missouri Attorney General Jeremiah Nixon is asking a Boone County judge to prohibit Warren from conducting business because of the violations. Harold Warren Sr., the former funeral director-in-charge, and Harold Warren Jr., the current funeral director-in-charge, are also named as defendants.
“There are very serious concerns for human health and safety about how this establishment has handled human remains,” Nixon said in a statement. “Based on the problems inspectors have found, there’s no question that what has happened here needs to be stopped, and that the defendants need to be stopped from practicing as funeral directors and embalmers until or unless they can verifiably demonstrate they can operate within the law.”
Nixon says that on July 11, inspectors noticed a strong odor throughout the facilities when they entered. They found an unembalmed, unrefrigerated body of someone who died in September 2007 in an advanced stage of decay stored in the electrical room. The inspectors also found a casket that Warren Sr. said had been used for that body until recently. He informed the inspectors that the casket was to be re-used for the cremation of another body. Two more inspections found more bodies that were stored for more than 24 hours without being refrigerated or embalmed.
The inspections also found that dead and diseased bodies were being handled without gloves, that the embalming room was in disarray, the room and its utensils were dirty and had not been cleaned since the previous embalming, that the embalming table was covered with blood, and that the embalming log had not been updated.