(CALIFORNIA) — A Hayward, California, cremation business that had its license was suspended in January was found in possession of six bodies and the cremated remains of 154 people in a warehouse, according to the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office.
The business’s license to store remains was suspended last year, but it still had remains stored in the warehouse dating back to 2013, according to authorities.
The Coroner’s Bureau is working to identify the remains and notify next of kin. The coroner said it has received several calls about the remains and has been able to connect three people with their loved ones’ remains so far, according to the sheriff’s office.
A fourth unnamed individual was contacted regarding his father’s remains, but he told the corner’s staff that he was in possession of his father’s remains.
“Since we have them, he obviously has someone else’s ashes,” Lt. Tya Modeste told ABC News.
Oceanview Cremations Corporation had allegedly been operating on a suspended license, going back to 2018, Modeste told ABC San Francisco station KGO.
“That’s how they ended up incorporating the warehouse. And having them stored there. So they actually weren’t on their premises. But the issue there, is the warehouse was not licensed to store the remains either,” Modeste told KGO.
The coroner’s office was notified that the business was continuing its operations and had remains in its possession on Feb. 28, when it was alerted by the California Cemetery and Funeral Board.
The Coroner’s Bureau and a county-contracted funeral home responded to the warehouse to recover the remains on March 1.
“Family members indicated that after their calls to Oceanview Cremations’ owner, Robert Smith, went unanswered, they believed their loved ones had been cremated or scattered at sea as requested,” Modeste said in a statement.
Officials said if you used Oceanview Cremations for final arrangements between 2013 and 2022 and are uncertain of their disposition or the whereabouts of their cremated remains, you can contact the Alameda County Coroner’s Bureau at 510-382-3000.
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