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 who had been stored at the funeral home since September 2007.
Those were among the allegations in a lawsuit filed 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 inspectors found unsanitary conditions and a garbage bag containing organs from multiple bodies in a casket, according a copy of the lawsuit.
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 describes violations involving seven bodies - identified only by initials - including two people who died in August and September 2007. 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 to keep 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 Harold Warren Sr. was the funeral director until Feb. 28, and that Harold Warren Jr. is the current funeral director.
"Based on the problems inspectors have found, there's no question that what has happened here needs to be stopped," Nixon said in a news release.
The Warrens did not return calls Friday or Saturday to comment on the lawsuit.