Warren hearing delayed

Monday, August 11, 2008 | 6:49 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — The injunction hearing for Warren Funeral Chapel and its owners, which was originally scheduled for Tuesday morning, has been postponed until Aug. 25, according to Missouri

Scott Holste, spokesman for the Missouri Attorney General's office, said this rescheduling extends a prior restraining order, keeping the chapel shut down.

Both Holste and Dan Viets, the attorney for Harold Warren Sr. and Harold Warren Jr., said the parties hope to reach an agreement in the meantime.

The Warrens would want such an agreement to end the litigation, Viets said, but he declined to comment about whether they are hoping to continue directing funeral homes.

Neither of the Warrens could be reached for comment.

The Warrens have released all remains in their possession to the Boone County Medical Examiner's office as part of an agreement with the Attorney General's office, Viets said. He added that the Warrens did this voluntarily.

Viets added that while previous media reports about the ashes turned over by the Warrens date the cremains to as far back as 1992, only one set of ashes was actually from that year. Viets said the rest of the ashes were from less than six months ago, and the Warrens were simply waiting for the families to pick them up.

Viets added that the elder Warren told him that he was not holding the ashes for payment, but the families had just not picked up the ashes.

Viets said previous media reports had implied that the remains were being held against the will of the families.

"That's just not true," he said.

The Attorney General's office filed a lawsuit against the Warrens and the funeral chapel on July 25. The lawsuit listed several health code violations found during two inspections of the chapel in July. Among other things, it stated that the body of a woman who died of hepatitis was kept in the home for 10 months without being embalmed or refrigerated.

Warren Funeral Chapel has not been open since July 30, when its owners agreed to a temporary restraining order that effectively shut down the home.


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