The Sunset Mesa Funeral Directors have had their operations suspended after an investigation by the Office of Funeral Home and Crematory Registration. Officials were alerted to potential problems when one family tested the remains that had been returned to them and discovered that the ash inside was actually just concrete dust.
The FBI raided the funeral home after Reuters ran an investigation alleging that the business was secretly a front for an organisation that harvested and sold body parts. The investigation began after Reuters interviewed half a dozen former employees and revealed a string of bizarre practices. This included dismembering corpses to sell organs and body parts and removing gold teeth and fillings for their metals. Strangest of all, one former employee spoke of her manager’s strange behaviour, saying,
“She showed me her collection of gold teeth one day.” FBI also mentioned a collection of fingers. That the family run business would retain teeth and fingers as part of a personal “collection” hints at the possibility that motivations may have ranged beyond just the monetary.
Colorado shuts down funeral home that replaced loved ones ashes with cement and sold their body parts https://t.co/sRAhImHJln— AngryAmericansUnited (@LastWave2014) 16 February 2018
Meanwhile the FBI have spoken to the press about this peculiar case, describing it as a “new frontier”. It is not illegal to run a body parts broker, nor is it illegal to run a body part business in the same building as a funeral home, and at the moment it’s not entirely clear how the owners will be charged. Everyone, however, agrees that the deceit involved is illegal and that there has been a massive breach of ethics that must be addressed.
“There are no ethics there when you do that. You are not looking at the full disposition (of a body). You are looking at how to make money,” said Steve Palmer, another funeral director who operates in the area.
Another official told reporters,
“The fact that now the business is also making money from the sale of body parts – if that is not being told to the family, it is unethical and probably illegal, if only as deception.”
Police also discovered bags of concrete on premises, confirming suspicions that the funeral home had been substituting cremated ashes with concrete dust. Bizarrely, the body broker business was run out in the open with a site where you could buy parts by just clicking “Add to Cart”. Meanwhile, their website has now closed down and the owners are refusing all attempts at contact by the press.