COLUMBIA — More than a week after investigators discovered unsanitary conditions at Warren Funeral Chapel, six more bodies were recovered from inside the chapel Friday afternoon.
Late Thursday, the Warrens told their attorney, Dan Viets, of six more bodies in the chapel, Viets said.
Viets didn't know where these bodies were in the facility and was unsure of why investigators didn't find these bodies during a search of the facility July 11.
"Apparently the investigators overlooked these," Viets said.
Scott Holste, a spokesman for the state attorney general office, said that "The State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors did an inspection on Wednesday of Warren Funeral Chapel in Columbia. Inspectors conducted a very thorough and complete inspection. The board would not and did not leave without taking care of any remains in an appropriate fashion."
Holste would not comment as to whether any bodies were located in the facility during Wednesday's inspection.
Viets said he called the office of the attorney general and the State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors, and, to his understanding, they arranged to take care of the bodies and have them cremated, he said.
Holste said that he was made aware of the additional bodies being removed when he saw a news release from the Columbia Police Department at about 5:15 p.m. Friday. He did not have any further information.
The Police Department did not assist in the removal of the additional bodies.
"I do not believe the Warrens had any improper motive," Viets said. Rather, he said the Warrens took the initiative to get the facility cleaned up and told him of the additional bodies.
"They want to get everything there straightened out and cleaned up," Viets said.
The funeral chapel had "very difficult financial situations to cope with," largely due to patrons being either unable or unwilling to pay for the Warrens' services, Viets said.
He added that the Warrens pick up bodies from hospitals and other sites, performing a "very valuable service," even if they didn't have the money to take care of all of the bodies.
Viets wasn't surprised that six additional bodies were found, "given the other facts that have come to light," he said.
He said he feels the Warrens have been honest with him so far.
Asking the authorities to take charge in cremating these new bodies was a "logical thing" to do, he said.