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Colorado shuts down funeral home operated by body parts broker

(Reuters) – Colorado officers indefinitely shut down the funeral home and crematory this week of a lady who runs a facet enterprise promoting donated body parts from the identical constructing.

In its order, issued Monday, the state’s Office of Funeral Home and Crematory Registration suspended operations at Sunset Mesa Funeral Directors after saying that cremated stays returned to 1 donor have been analyzed by the household and located to be concrete, not human ashes.

The motion towards Sunset Mesa and its proprietor, Megan Hess, comes after an FBI raid final week. That raid adopted a report by Reuters in January about alleged practices at Sunset Mesa funeral home and Donor Services, the Hess-run body donation agency. (Read the Reuters investigation – here)

During the FBI raid, officers looking the funeral home additionally discovered luggage of “dry concrete/cement,” the order mentioned.

Former workers of the Montrose, Colorado, institution had informed the information company earlier than the FBI raid that they have been troubled by what they witnessed on the funeral home.

FILE PHOTO: The Sunset Mesa Funeral Directors and Donor Services constructing in Montrose, Colorado, U.S., December 16, 2017. Picture taken December 16, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking/File Photo

Although Hess spoke with Reuters about her companies in 2016, she has since declined to remark. By Tuesday morning, the funeral home’s web site had been taken offline and the cellphone quantity disconnected. Hess’s lawyer, Carol Viner, couldn’t be reached for remark. Previously, Viner had requested Reuters to “refrain from contacting” Hess workers “for any reason.”

In its order, the Colorado division, a division of the state’s Department of Regulatory Agencies, discovered that Hess uncared for to keep up required cremation information for at the least 5 years and ultimate disposition information of the deceased for at the least seven years. Sunset Mesa additionally disposed of our bodies earlier than acquiring the mandatory permits, the state order mentioned.

In final month’s story by Reuters, former workers described how our bodies donated to Donor Services have been dismembered and bought. The so-called body broker enterprise operated out of the identical constructing as Sunset Mesa.

State officers contacted Tuesday mentioned that the suspension order extends solely to the funeral home and crematory and that the workplace “has no regulatory authority over Donor Services,” the body donation firm.

Reuters was unable to find out whether or not Donor Services, the body donation firm, stays open however its quantity was additionally disconnected.

No federal regulation governs the sale of cadavers or body parts to be used in analysis or schooling, and few state legal guidelines — together with these in Colorado — present any oversight.

Reporting by Reade Levinson. Edited by Blake Morrison.

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