Colorado governor signs bills regulating funeral homes after discovery of 190 rotting bodies

DENVER (AP) — Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed two payments into legislation Friday that overhaul state oversight of the funeral dwelling business after a sequence of ugly discoveries, together with 190 discomposing our bodies in a facility, households being despatched pretend ashes and the unauthorized sale of physique components.

The instances put Colorado’s lax funeral dwelling rules — a number of the weakest within the nation — within the highlight and rocked tons of of already grieving households.

Some households had ceremonially unfold ashes that turned out to be pretend. Others stated they’d nightmares about what their family members may need regarded like in a decayed state.

“When grieving the lack of a liked one, the very last thing a household ought to fear about is the trustworthiness and professionalism of these entrusted to take care of the one who has handed,” Polis stated in an announcement.

The brand new legal guidelines deliver Colorado according to most different states.

One requires regulators to routinely examine funeral houses and provides them extra enforcement energy. One other implements licensing for funeral administrators and different staff within the business. They would want to cross background checks and a nationwide examination whereas possessing levels and work expertise.

Beforehand, funeral dwelling administrators in Colorado didn’t must graduate from highschool, not to mention have a level.

The funeral dwelling business was typically on board with the modifications although some expressed concern that strict necessities for funeral dwelling administrators had been pointless and would make it troublesome to seek out hirable candidates.

The invoice signings observe a rocky 12 months for Colorado funeral houses.

In early October, neighbors seen a putrid scent coming from a constructing within the city of Penrose about two hours south of Denver. Authorities quickly discovered 190 decaying our bodies there together with adults, infants and fetuses.

Some had been stacked atop one another. Decomposition fluid coated the flooring whereas flies and maggots swarmed.

Virtually two dozen our bodies dated to 2019 and a few 60 extra had been from 2020. Because the our bodies had been recognized, households who had obtained ashes realized the cremains weren’t their family members.

In most states, funeral houses are routinely inspected however no such guidelines had been on the books in Colorado. The house owners of the funeral dwelling had been arrested in November and collectively face tons of of fees of abusing corpses and different counts.

Simply months later, in February, a girl’s physique was discovered at the back of hearse the place a suburban Denver funeral dwelling had left it for over a 12 months. At the very least 30 units of cremated stays had been discovered stashed all through the funeral director’s dwelling.


Bedayn is a corps member for the Related Press/Report for America Statehouse Information Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit nationwide service program that locations journalists in native newsrooms to report on undercovered points.


Mead Gruver in Cheyenne, Wyoming, contributed to this report.

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