FBI creating questionnaire for victims of funeral home shut down by state
MONTROSE, Colo. — The FBI is investigating a funeral home business in western Colorado that the state shut down. The agency announced Friday it is working on a questionnaire for victims to fill out to help with the investigation.
State regulators took the action against Sunset Mesa Funeral Directors in Montrose after investigations showed it misplaced one person’s ashes and instead gave a family dry concrete.
The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reported earlier this month that the state says the Sunset Mesa Funeral Directors is “guilty of multiple deliberate and willful violations of the Mortuary Science Code”, including failing to keep records.
According to an order suspending its license, investigators looked at complaints of five bodies being cremated without a permit and one body that was embalmed without permission from the family.
“Given the public response to the investigation, the FBI is developing a questionnaire to assist with the investigative process,” the FBI said Friday. “Anyone who believes they may be a victim or who has valuable information can fill out the questionnaire. If you believe you are a victim, please email your contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will email you the link to the questionnaire once it is available online.”
Here is more information from the FBI:
“The FBI will contact individuals that it believes may have information relevant to this investigation. The FBI will be testing a select set of cremains (ashes) as determined by the investigation. The FBI Lab, or any other lab that may be used, likely cannot test for DNA to determine if cremains (ashes) are from a specific deceased individual (decedent). Testing will only determine whether cremains (ashes) are a foreign substance or from the cremation of a human. At this time, the FBI cannot commit to testing all cremains that were received from the individuals in question. The FBI is working with Colorado Mesa University to find a testing option for other cremains (ashes) from the public. Please fill out the questionnaire and wait for someone to contact you. There is a large amount of information to process and the investigation could take some time. Thank you for your patience.”
FBI agents and police searched the business earlier this month.
The funeral home’s phone number has been disconnected and its website has been taken down.