The owners of Swanson’s Funeral Home in Flint, Michigan, will most likely never be allowed to operate a similar business again. With maggots crawling on the floor near cardboard boxes with holes in them, stacked up next to a table with a corpse lying on it, only covered by a sheet, people in the neighborhood are not likely to entrust them with the remains of their loved ones any time soon again.
Mr Robert Duffer, 77 years old, who had the remains of his late wife handled by the said funeral home, filed a complaint against the place. He was not the only one.
"The place was filthy. It was like an ancient room that'd never been cleaned."
When he came to pick up the ashes of his late wife, Mr Duffy explained that it took an employee three quarters of an hour to return with a white paper bag filled with ashes.
Mr. Duffer’s daughter, Ms Patricia Williams, confirms the story and says there was nothing to indicate the ashes were actually her mother’s: "That's all we got. So, then we knew we did not have my mom."
They filed an official complaint against the Swanson funeral home and left messages asking for explanations, but were never given any answer.
The state’s attorney general also filed several complaints against the Swanson’s company, but it wasn’t until the summer that his place of business in Flint was closed down.
At that time, inspectors came for an unannounced visit and what they found blew them away. 10 bodies were lying in an unrefrigerated garage, one was not embalmed and had been there about a month and a half.
There have been several cases like this in the US in the recent past, usually it happens when someone complains to the local authorities. In the case of Swanson, they operate prominent various facilities in Detroit. According to the State officials handling the complaint against Flint, the funeral home over there is a separate legal entity and is licensed by the main office in Detroit.
It was complaints about employee working conditions that initially led inspectors to the Flint funeral home, according to the state's complaint.