State orders unregistered facility to halt cremations

YPSILANTI, Mich. (AP) — State licensing officials have ordered a southeastern Michigan company to stop performing cremations after an anonymous complaint of improperly stored bodies, heavy smoke and leaking bodily fluids on the premises.

A cease and desist order was issued Friday against Tri-County Cremation Services in Ypsilanti and its listed owners, according to Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

The company is accused of operating a crematory without a registration under the Cemetery Regulation Act. The company also has been ordered to provide proof that O’Neil Swanson II no longer owns, operates or has a controlling interest in the business, the agency said.

Swanson declined to comment Friday on the order.

An investigation into the company was started after the state received an anonymous complaint of heavy smoke issuing from the chimney, bodies stored improperly while awaiting cremation, and bodily fluids leaking onto the facility’s floor.

The Swanson Funeral Home in Flint was closed in 2017 after maggots were found in a garage where unrefrigerated bodies were being stored. Officials later determined prepaid funeral contracts were sold without a proper license.

Swanson of West Bloomfield pleaded no contest in 2019 to two felonies. A no-contest plea isn’t an admission of guilt but is treated as such at sentencing.

His mortuary science and mortuary science establishment licenses were revoked, meaning he is ineligible to hold a controlling interest in a cemetery or crematory, according to Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

The licensing agency and Michigan’s attorney general’s office are attempting to identify bodies awaiting cremation at the Ypsilanti facility, about 35 miles (56 kilometers) southwest of Detroit.

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