The Stanislaus County coroner has removed 17 bodies from a Modesto funeral home after a months-long investigation into cremation delays.
The unusual move left at least one family questioning the authenticity of their loved one's remains.
In a brief statement released Friday, the Sheriff's Department acknowledged "an investigation into potential criminal and civil violations with the business for the past several months." Multiple media outlets have identified the business as McGuire Cremation & Funeral Service.
The Stanislaus County public health officer told the Modesto Bee that he stopped issuing burial and cremation permits to McGuire on May 1. He told the paper his office had received several complaints "regarding delays in cremation of family members."
Fox 40 Sacramento reported that the family of Dewey Cotton Sr. experienced a 35-day delay in their recent dealings with the business. The family was promised Cotton's ashes on March 16 but got them more than a month later.
When the remains were finally delivered to the Cotton home, family members told Fox 40 that lockets were empty and the consistency of the remains seemed off.
"My Dad's not at peace," Cotton's daughter Thomasina told the station. "... I don't sleep, I barely eat."
On its website, McGuire Cremation & Funeral Service lists cremation prices ranging from $425 to $1,725.
"Our owners have worked in the funeral home business for many years and started this business to offer their services directly to the community," the website says." We are known for our affordable prices to help families during these sad times."