Funeral home shut down after maggots, 15 unrefrigerated bodies found

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A Michigan funeral home has been shut down after investigators found maggots and 15 unrefrigerated bodies. (WLS)

A Mid-Michigan funeral home has been shut down after investigators found deplorable conditions, including maggots and fifteen unrefrigerated bodies.

Now TV5 has learned the funeral home has had 8 complaints reported to state regulators from 2012-2016.

The Dept. of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) announced Wednesday they have suspended the mortuary science license of Swanson Funeral Home in Flint, including the individual license of its manager O'Neil D. Swanson, II.

"Michigan residents trust funeral home directors, owners, and their establishments to follow the law especially when dealing with the death of a loved one," said CSCL Director Julia Dale. "We will continue to aggressively hold every funeral home in Michigan to the highest standards of public health and safety when providing final arrangements."

Investigators said state inspectors found deplorable, unsanitary conditions and several violations inside the funeral home. Those violations included:

Maggots on the floor of the facility's garage and garage door.

Unrefrigerated human bodies were stored in the un-air-conditioned garage, some for more than 90 days and up to five months.

The building smelled of decomposing bodies.

Unsanitary preparation room without equipment or supplies necessary for embalming.

Blood and fluid stained casket pillows were laying in the hallway.

A failure to register as a "producing facility" and submit a Medical Waste Management Plan, under the Medical Waste Regulatory Act.

Repeated violations of standards and laws enforced by the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration affecting the handling, custody, care, or transportation of a dead human body.

A failure to register to sell prepaid contracts or maintain a contract with a registrant under the Prepaid Act.

The funeral home could be subject to fines up to $10,000 for each violation, according to LARA.

MIOSHA inspected the facility six times from 2012-2016, and there were two more inspections from other agencies.

Swanson Funeral Home has had other disturbing allegations leveled against it.

In May of 2017, Maurice Dunn claimed he and his family arrived at the Flint funeral home to pay their respects and found a stranger in the casket. TV5 reached out to Swanson Funeral Home about the claims and never heard back. Read more about the claim here.

"It's unscrupulous business behavior of course and it's just awful," Dunn said.

Dunn said the funeral home put a different person in his mother's casket.

"They dressed another lady in our mother's coffin and my mother's clothes with our mother's wedding ring and her mother's wig," Dunn said.

The funeral home was also reportedly under investigation in November of 2016 after four complaints were filed for gross negligence, incompetence, violation of a rule of conduct and an inability to serve the public. Read more about the complaint here.

Some residents are concerned because they have loved ones inside waiting to be laid to rest and they can't get in touch with the funeral home either.

Members of the public who are in the process of or have used the services of Swanson Funeral Home and have questions or concerns regarding the operation of the home should contact CSCL at 517-241-7000.

Swartz Funeral Home has stepped in to help 12 families planning funerals at Swanson Funeral Home.

Dunn's brother Joe Leverette said he wants justice for everyone affected.

"I hope everything gets straightened out you know, try to comfort some of the people they've hurt and their families," Leverette said.

The brothers have filed a lawsuit against the funeral home and want compensation.

Dunn said he is glad no one else has to go through what he did.

"Better late than never," Dunn said.

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