L.A. funeral home owner charged with leaving bodies to rot in ‘shocking’ case

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Los Angeles funeral home owner illegally left the remains of 11 people, including infants, decomposing and mummifying and facing more than a decade in prison, prosecutors said Friday.

City Attorney Mike Feuer, whose office can only file misdemeanors, announced the charges on Friday, calling it an “incredibly sad and shocking situation” and said officials could smell the smell from outside facilities in the San Fernando Valley.

“Eleven people died, including very young children, and the funeral director hired to compassionately prepare the bodies for burial would have simply left them to rot, lacking the decency and dignity that all of our loved ones deserve,” Feuer said. in a press release. “Their deaths are a tragedy, and this alleged monstrous mistreatment is a second tragedy.”

Funeral homes that mistreat human remains have been in the news for years. Funeral home regulations vary across the United States, with some states requiring annual inspections and many requiring no inspections at all.

In one of the most extreme cases, more than 330 rotting corpses were found in 2002 in the Tri-State Crematorium near the small community of Noble, about 100 miles northwest of Atlanta. The former operator pleaded guilty to almost 800 criminal charges relating to fraud and abuse of corpses after the bodies were discovered.

In Los Angeles, authorities have opened an investigation into Mark B. Allen Mortuary and Cremations Services Inc., after receiving complaints from families. The morgue, owned by Mark B. Allen, is now closed and phone numbers listed for the business have been disconnected.

It was not immediately clear if Allen had an attorney who could speak on his behalf. He faces 22 misdemeanor charges – two for each person – under the State Health and Safety Code, where a law prohibits anyone from disposing of human remains anywhere that is not a cemetery. The second status Allen faces is illegally disposing of the remains through his role as a funeral director. The maximum penalty is $110,000 and 11 years in prison.

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