The Alameda County Coroner’s Bureau is working to contact over 100 families after bodies and cremated remains were found at a warehouse linked to a suspended Hayward cremation business.
“You entrusted a funeral home to take care of your loved one and that didn’t happen,” said Tya Modeste of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office.
A total of six bodies and 154 cremated remains were found in the Hayward warehouse late last week.
Now, officials are working to reunite the remains with families in 15 different counties.
“Some of the families paid to have their loved ones remains scattered at sea and that clearly didn’t happen in a lot of these cases,” said Modeste.
The warehouse is linked to Oceanview Cremations. The sheriff’s office says the bizarre investigation started after several complaints from customers to the California Cemetery and Funeral Bureau.
Yelp reviews accuse the company of waiting months to cremate bodies, holding ashes for years, and refusing to return customers’ calls after taking their money. According to the bureau, one customer allegedly got the wrong remains.
“If they did business with Oceanview between 2013 and 2021 it’s likely we may have remains that belong to them,” said Modeste.
Oceanview’s business license was suspended in 2018 and again this past January, but according to the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, even when they were licensed, they were never allowed to store remains at their Hayward warehouse.
The coroner’s bureau seized all remains March 1, but on Monday, a customer said they were going to pick up a loved one.
“I’m completely at a loss there … it sounds like those are potentially new remains and they are continuing to do business, that is important information to know,” said Modeste.
So far, five of the bodies found inside have been identified. A sixth body has a tentative identification. But out of the more than 150 other remains, the corners bureau has only been able to identify six family members.
Oceanview did not answer the door at the warehouse Monday or NBC Bay Area’s calls for comment. The state is investigating, however it is unclear if the owner will face any criminal charges.
In the meantime, the county is looking to bring families closure.
“For the many, many families that placed countless calls to the business and got no final disposition as to what happened with their loved ones, its providing them some closure,” said Modeste.
Source: NBC Bay Area
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