UPDATE: Judge Denies Injunction for Embalmer Accused of Mistreating the Dead - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Shreveport, La.

UPDATE: Judge Denies Injunction for Embalmer Accused of Mistreating the Dead

It sounds like something off of CSI; a body decomposing inside a funeral home because the cooler where the dead are kept isn't cool enough.

That's just one allegation facing the owner of Mortuary Services of Louisiana. 

The owner of the Shreveport company lost his license after a random inspection, recently.

The "findings of fact," as told by the Louisiana State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors, allege that the remains of an unidentified woman were not properly cared for.  Namely, the board says the woman's body was not embalmed within thirty hours, or properly refrigerated.  That, the board says, attracted flies and maggots. 

"Do you take this seriously," asked reporter David Begnaud.

"Very seriously," said Chuck Curtis, owner and operator of Mortuary Services of Louisiana.

He says the woman who wasn't embalmed within the time required by state law, was supposed to be created immediately.  Instead, she sat in the cooler for weeks.

"Several weeks...months," said Curtis.

"Why months," asked Begnaud.

"We were behind, and the crematory was behind. We use exclusively one crematory, and they were behind and it just took them time to get caught up," he explained.

That crematory is Rose Neath crematory, the same agency that photographed the decomposing body Curtis brought them, and turned the photos over to state inspectors.

"We kept the remains in our facility, under our guard, so that we knew where they were."

"But the bottom line is, you should've used another crematory, right," said Begnaud.

"That is correct," Curtis said.  "Absolutely."

Another finding brought up by the board involved organs found in a bucket.  Inspectors say the organs weren't properly identified.  Curtis disputes that claim.

"He asked what it was.  He looked."  " Eventually, he took pictures, but he didn't go into that bucket to see what was inside."

Curtis says the organs in the bucket were being preserved to avoid decomposition.  He says all the right organs made it back into the right bodies.

"Circumstances happened.  I can assure you we've taken all precautions, that we will not use one crematory.  We will use several, and that we will correct any problems that are found. 

A judge has agreed to sign a temporary injunction allowing Curtis to continue working, pending a court hearing.

He has been fined thirty-five hundred dollars.

Reported by David Begnaud

NOTE: Rose Neath funeral home vehemently denies the allegations made by Chuck Curtis.  Virginia Shehee, owner and operators of Rose Neath, says the company's crematory has never been backed up.  She admits there are times when the machine is down, but she insists it's never been down long enough to put any funeral director in a bind.

 

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