CARLINVILLE, Ill. (WCIA) — A license was revoked from a Carlinville funeral home director after an investigation by the Sangamon County Coroner discovered mishandling of cremated remains.
Last week, Sangamon County Coroner Jim Allmon began investigating Heinz Funeral Home / Family Care Cremations after learning a dead woman had been left in a hospital morgue for almost a month, despite the funeral home’s assurances that she had been cremated and her remains had been provided to the family. The investigation prompted several reports from around the community.
On Sept. 28, officials from the coroner’s office visited the funeral home and found the remains of three people in an advanced state of decomposition. They were identified by Coroner Allmon as Sangamon County residents who had died in the area the previous month. He said all three families have since been located and notified.
The coroner’s office has so far removed or recovered over 40 sets of cremains from Heinz Funeral Home. Some of those cremains were not labeled.
The office has received hundreds of calls in the last week with several families given the wrong cremains. Through the investigation, they have learned that the issue is not exclusive to Sangamon County. Several jurisdictions, coroners and law enforcement agencies of different counties are now getting similar reports.
As a result of the investigation, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulations has revoked the Funeral Director and Embalmer license of August Heinz. This is a decision supported by Coroner Allmon. The IDFPR said it was revoked for several points of malpractice, including vital records non-compliance, incompetence in funeral practice, taking undue advantage of clients amounting to perpetration of fraud, violating funeral regulations, unprofessional conduct, and charging for professional services not rendered.
The coroner’s office said they are committed to working with affected families. Coroner Allmon will also continue working with the Vital Records Division of the Illinois Department of Public Health to file and correct death certificates when needed. He said any questions about criminal culpability will be referred to law enforcement agencies investigating this matter.