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Death, Inc.

A back injury and talks with people eager to learn how their loved ones died prompted Vidal Herrera to become an entrepreneur. He is so busy that he sometimes has to refuse business. (Brian Vander Brug / Los Angeles Times)
Vidal Herrera washes off his gloves during a private autopsy. The business brings in annual revenue in the “low $600,000 range,” he said. (Brian Vander Brug / Los Angeles Times)
Transforming coffins into couches is another of Vidal Herrera’s ventures. He buys up defective models or coffins discarded when family members change their minds, cleans them, cuts them apart and adds legs and custom upholstery. (Brian Vander Brug / Los Angeles Times)
Forensic technician Edgar Artiga prepares a body for an autopsy at the 1-800-Autopsy facility in Los Angeles. (Brian Vander Brug / Los Angeles Times)