Lawsuit filed against Warren Funeral Home for unsanitary conditions

Friday, July 25, 2008 | 6:23 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA - The state is trying to close a Columbia funeral home after inspectors found bodies that had been stored for extended periods of time without refrigeration, including the decayed, unembalmed body of a woman that had been stored at the funeral home since September.

Those were among the allegations in a lawsuit provided by the Missouri Attorney General's Office on Friday afternoon that asks the Boone County Circuit Court to close Warren Funeral Chapel, 12 E. Ash St.

State inspections also found unsanitary conditions and, in one case, a garbage bag containing organs from multiple bodies in a casket, according to the copy of the lawsuit, which the attorney general's office said was filed on Friday.

Attorney General Jay Nixon also asked the court to prevent Warren Funeral Chapel and its current and previous directors from directing funerals or embalming bodies.

The petition described violations involving seven bodies - identified by initials only - including two people who died in August and September. In the first inspection, which the attorney general's office said occurred on July 11, inspectors found a cockroach and body fluids inside a casket.

Nixon's petition asks for an injunction keeping the funeral home from operating and an order for restitution to the affected families and penalties to the state. The defendants named in the lawsuit are Harold Warren Sr. and Harold Warren Jr. The attorney general's office said that Harold Warren Sr. was the funeral director until Feb. 28, and that Harold Warren Jr. is the current funeral director. Both men are licensed to emblam and direct funerals, the attorney general's office said.



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