A funeral home in the USA has become the target of investigation after allegedly providing the wrong cremation remains to multiple families and storing decomposing remains at the facility.
Police initiated an investigation into the practices of the Heinz Funeral Home/Family Care Cremations in Carlinville, Illinois State, USA, on Monday, 25th September.
It followed after Sangamon County Coroner Jim Allmon received a phone call from a hospital in Springfield claiming that the body of a deceased had not been claimed by the home for more than a month.
Allmon said: “After calling the family of the deceased in question, I learned that the family had chosen Heinz Funeral Home and Family Care Cremation in Carlinville shortly after their mother’s death to assist them.
“The family of the deceased then explained to me that the funeral home in question had already provided them with cremated remains of their mother.
“Unfortunately, I had to tell the daughters of the deceased that the remains in their possession were not those of their mother, their mother was still in the hospital morgue.
“After meeting with the deceased’s family, and examining the cremains they were given, it was determined that those cremains in question belonged to another Sangamon County resident.
“Our investigation has discovered numerous incidents similar to this that involve Heinz Funeral Home or Family Care Cremations telling the decadent’s family that their loved one had been cremated, that they were then provided with cremains when in actuality a cremation never even took place.”
Allmon said that he is not aware of the particular number of families who have dealt with the situation, but added that several law enforcement agencies entered the funeral home to check it out.
He said: “There we discovered the remains of three individuals that were not in a refrigerated setting and in an advanced state of decomposition.
“They were unable to be identified at that time.
“My office took possession of all three of the decedents, transported them back to Sangamon County so they could be identified scientifically, and returned to their families.
“Since the investigation started I’ve contacted numerous families that have been given the wrong cremains.
“This investigation has also led us to believe that at least in one situation, a decedent in the care of this funeral home was cremated under a different name.
“While it’s not the duty of the coroner to manage or police funeral directors, I was not going to sit idly by and allow this to happen to more residents of Sangamon County.”
The investigation is at the initial state, and no one has been arrested yet, claimed Sangamon County Sheriff Jeck Campbell.
The funeral home has been in operation since 1854, and remains in the family’s possession to this day, with August and Clay Heinz serving as the lead funeral directors.