Funeral home shut down for allegedly stealing jewelry, mixing remains

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) - A state agency has taken action against a Utah funeral home after allegations of unethical and unsanitary practices.

The Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing (DOPL) under the Utah Department of Commerce suspended the license of Carver Mortuary due to an “immediate and significant danger to public health, safety and welfare.”

Carver Mortuary Service, LLC was licensed as a funeral service establishment with the state in February 2008. Tanner J. Carver and Shane Adam Westmoreland were licensed as funeral service directors with the company.

The company held contracts for cremation services for deceased persons with other funeral service establishments, hospital including Intermountain Medical Center, the state Medical Examiner’s Office and Salt Lake County.

An emergency order from the DOPL says Carver and Westmoreland regularly hired assistants to help remove bodies from residences, nursing or assisted living facilities, hospitals and the medical examiner’s office.

Documents allege the pair regularly hired employees who were not licensed under the Funeral Services Licensing Act. One unlicensed former employee testified that he performed about 50 cremations.

Carver Mortuary is accused of

  • Mixing remains on a "regular basis"
  • Throwing away ashes that could not be identified
  • Cremating bodies without records documenting whether the cremation had been authorized
  • Keeping incomplete cremation logs
  • Leaving bodies unrefrigerated for "periods of a day or more" 
  • Rarely cleaning the embalming room including appliances, tools and surfaces
  • Not cleaning between embalming procedures
  • Keeping gold and precious metals from cremated remains and selling them
  • Keeping watches, rings and other personal property and not delivering them to the decedents' family

View the DOPL emergency order to read more of the allegations.

Another former employee testified that Carver Mortuary employees were instructed to take items from hospitals, other funeral establishments and other places to be used by Carver Mortuary staff. 

The DOPL included the owners of the funeral home have engaged in conduct which constitutes “gross incomplete, gross negligence or a pattern of incompetency.” The state also says there is a "high risk" that bodies and cremated remains have been misidentified due to the lack of care.

Due to what the state calls "unprofessional conduct" the company and its directors' licenses have been revoked immediately. 

Carver Mortuary was instructed to make immediate arrangements for another licensed funeral home to take custody and control of all bodies and cremated remains in its possession. DOPL personnel will supervise the transfer of all bodies and cremated remains to other funeral establishments. 

Attorneys representing Carver Mortuary released the following statement Friday: 

Carver Mortuary has nearly a decade of experience in the funeral industry. We are committed to serving our customers and to complying with all regulations governing funeral homes. We have been cooperating with the Department of Professional Licensing to resolve any concerns it has and will continue to do so.   We are concerned about the allegations made by DOPL and are highly confident that no personal effects were removed from any decedent and that any remains received by family members were properly segregated and identified. 

If you are using Carver Mortuary Services, you can call the Utah Medical Examiner's Office at (801) 816-3850 to find out where your loved one is being transferred. 

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