July 2021

Page A12 JULY 2021 FUNERAL HOME & CEMETERY NEWS Se c t i on A www. vischerfuneralsupplies.com ©adfinity ® Independently owned by licensed funeral director Dave McComb, Inman Shipping Worldwide offers unmatched integrity and expertise. We have more than 40 years of experience bringing loved ones home for ceremony. We offer: • International & domestic ship-in services • Unsurpassed attention to detail • State-of-the-art tracking software • 24/7 call center staffed by Inman employees WE GIVE YOU MORE TIME TO SERVE your families Contact us today to learn more. (800) 321-0566 • ShipInman.com The Kent’s were arrested in February in Summit County on charges of attempted tampering with a deceased human body and abuse of a corpse. This was when police found a decedent, Victor Akubuo, in a casket in the Silverthorne Chapel of Baily-Kent Funeral Home, which had been there for several months. The Kent’s were issued $10,000 bonds and to surrender their passports. Denver 7 investigators’ body camera video showed mul- tiple decaying bodies. There were searches done by law en- forcement in October and February. One of the of the law enforcement officers calling the scene, a “house of horrors.” When the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) was asked how this could happen, Karen McGov- ern deputy director of legal affairs explained that Mr. Kent was also the coroner and made getting clearance to search more difficult. Colorado Funeral Directors released a statement. In part, the statement reads: “On behalf of the Colorado Funeral Directors Association (CFDA) extends its deepest condolences to the families im- pacted by allegations of improper handling of deceased per- sons by Kent Funeral Homes, both non-member firms.” “CFDA members must strictly adhere to a “Code of Eth- ics” which outlines this as an obligation to the decedent.” A simple creed to follow. Absence of care, fear of discovery, subsequent cover-up is much more difficult than doing the right thing from the beginning. “What happened to my clients was just horrific. They took away the last bit of comfort that these parents had.” —Attorney Remington Fang, representing the family of a stillborn child, whose cremains are still in question. Observations “This is a sad and disturbing case involving our community and a difficult investigation for our officers.” —Silverthorne (Colorado) PD Chief John Minor. Her baby was stillborn in December 2019. She asked the fu- neral home for cremation and to receive the baby’s cremated remains by Christmas. The funeral home agreed. Their usual $400 cremation fee was halved to $200 due to the small size of the child. All seemed well. Then there was no word from the funeral home The mother called repeatedly. She finally received a call. The funeral home co-owner explained that the child’s body had been transferred to another location, without family permission. They were eventually given cremated remains. The remains would not fit into the infant urn. They asked for a larger urn and were reportedly told “Now you are just asking for a hand- out.” CBS4 reported that the “ashes were tested by experts in Den- ver and found to contain abnormalities. Bits of metal, possi- bly from jewelry, were found. But, according to the incident report, the results also suggested the ashes she received were a mix of an infant, another adult and perhaps an animal.” Three years after the cremation of her daughter, Chantal Reh still does not know if she has the cremated remains of her daughter. Her daughter was prenatally diagnosed with Turn- er’s Syndrome and was dead at birth. After a police search, a stillborn baby was found in Kent’s funeral home and there was paperwork deeply scattered on the floor. There were repeated phone calls to the funeral home. She asked to see her daughter, Christie, before cremation and was refused with the explanation she was at another location. Reh told the Daily Beast that Staci Kent told her, “Sitting so long the remains would be discolored and dismembered.” Ten days later, she received an urn, reportedly with Christie’s cremated remains in it. It was a different urn than what they had ordered and there was no accompanying paperwork iden- tifying the contents or the cremation. “They’ve been in trouble multiple times, and nothing has come of it,” Reh told the Daily Beast, “I felt kind of helpless By Steven Palmer in achieving anything…At this point I am so mad. I don’t have any tears left.” The Leadville Bailey-Kent facility was inspected on October 2. Lake County Sheriff Amy Reyes stated with the smell of decay she began to “feel sick, weak and lightheaded.” She lost her foot- ing in the pools of body fluids on the floor, they found used and uncleaned medical and surgical equipment, unrefrigerated hu- man remains and refrigerated remains unidentified and no ac- companying paperwork. In the October search, they also found an unrefrigerated body, bags of unlabeled cremated remains and an abandoned stillborn at the Leadville and Gypsum locations. The Lake County District Attorney filed four felony charg- es and one misdemeanor of abuse of a corpse. Kent was also charged with unlawful acts of cremation, first degree official mis- conduct, two counts of second-degree official misconduct; three counts of falsifying health information; and one count of unlaw- ful acts related to a mortuary. health information and on count unlawful acts of a mortuary and false information on a vital sta- tistics death certificate, all of which are misdemeanors. In December 2020, Shannon Kent lost his licenses to perform cremation or conduct funeral services in the state of Colora- do. This affects Bailey-Kent Funeral Home in Leadville, Everett Family Funeral Home and Crematory in Gypsum, Runyan-Kent Mortuary in Silverthorne, Runyan Mortuary in Buena Vista, and Hegmann Funeral Service in Idaho Springs. Shannon Kent was elected Lake County Coroner as a Demo- crat in 2014 and reelected in 2018. As coroner, he was indicted on counts of second-degree official misconduct and first-degree perjury in 2019. Shannon Kent had sent his wife Staci, on three death scenes. Staci represented her- self as a deputy coroner though she had never taken the training, or the oath administered by county clerk or a judge. One call in March kept her delayed as the van she was responding in ac- cording to the Associated Press, “was buried in snow, had a dead battery, bald tires and two bodies inside.” Firefighters and police helped remove the bodies from the van. In May Staci was dis- patched to remove a body without taking a body bag. She threat- ened the Lake County sheriff with arrest when asked why she did not have a body bag. Shannon Kent submitted his resignation as Lake County Cor- oner on April 30. A recall effort had been attempted before this. Colorado Coroner & Cremation Complaints Steven Palmer entered funeral service in 1971. He is an honors graduate of the New England Institute of Applied Arts & Sciences. Hehasbeen licensedonbothcoasts, heownedtheWestcott Funeral Homes of Cottonwood and Camp Verde, AZ, where he remains ac- tive in operations. Steve offers his observations on current funeral serviceissues.HemaybereachedbymailatPOBox352,Cottonwood, AZ 86326, by phone at (928)634-9566, by fax at (928)634-5156, by e- mail at steve@westcottfuneralhome.com or through his website at www.westcottfuneralhome.com or on Facebook. FUNERAL HOME & CEMETERY NEWS www.nomispublications.com Monthly Columns online at The funeral home was started in 1997 by Michael Bolock, since it’s opening the funeral home has been pro- gressive and innovative, while still maintaining respect for the traditions of the community. Recognizing that crema- tion was becoming the chosen method for many families, Bolock Funeral Home was the first in Monroe County to open its own crematory. “Since founding the fu- neral home, our main pri- ority was families first,” owner, Michael Bolock said. “This is very excit- ing for my team and I. It was very important to me to choose a successor that had a vision for the firm and ability to maintain high standards, I’m look- ing forward to working with David and his team, and focusing on our fam- ily’s experiences in the funeral home.” “We are equally excited to welcome Bolock to the family. The firm is excellent and with the cremation facility we are now able to offer complete in-house cre- mation services to all of our Pennsylvania and New Jersey families, something very few firms can offer,” stated Michael Grandi, vice president of funeral op- erations of Jersey Memorial Group. David L. Hernandez Jr is a leading operator with pro- gressive, innovative service selections, and locations. Jersey Memorial Group is a family-owned business that operates a network of 15 funeral homes, cemeteries, and cremato- ries across New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. David has developed a decentralized organizational struc- ture that provides owners and location management the ability to service the community on a local level without layers of management. Family owned and operated, Da- vid is involved in each transaction, making decisions with owners for the legacy and continued tradition of their firms. Jersey Memorial Group answers only to the families they serve and not shareholders, partners, or private equi- ty. To learn more, visit www.jerseymemorialgroup.com. Jersey Memorial Group adds to Pennsylvania Footprint David L. Hernandez Jr OLD BRIDGE,NJ— David L. Hernandez Jr, found- er of Jersey Memorial Group, has announced the ac- quisition of Bolock Funeral Home and Crematory. The acquisition of the firm ex- pands the Jersey Memorial Group’s holdings in Penn- sylvania. “I’m thrilled about being part of the Pocono region community and partnering with Michael Bolock and his reputation and team,” said David L. Hernandez Jr. “Mike and I just hit it off. We have such similar phi- losophies on family service, our team, how technology will impact the professional moving forward, I’m honored to be chosen by Mike to carry on the legacy of the firm he built.” Bolock Funeral Home and Crematory