Two funeral home owners have been charged after a woman’s body was found in an unrefrigerated room surrounded by air-fresheners, having been left there to rot for almost three years.
South Carolina’s Attorney General Alan Wilson has confirmed in a statement that Lawrence Robert Meadows and Roderick Mitchell Cummings, both 40, were indicted on separate counts of ‘desecration of human remains’. If convicted, they could face up to 10 years behind bars.
“The victim’s body was left unattended in a storage room for over three years,” Wilson said in the statement. “When recovered, the victim’s body had decomposed beyond recognition.”
According to the New York Post, the pair, who ran Family First Funeral Home in Spartanburg, US, are accused of leaving the body of 63-year-old Mary Alice Pitts Moore in a locked storage room, covered in blankets, instead of cremating her as was expected following her funeral in March 2015.
The woman’s family claim in a lawsuit that her body was even moved to another funeral home 65 miles away, the news outlet reports. It reportedly took two weeks of reviewing medical records to confirm her identity, due to the heavy decomposition.
The news outlet claims Meadows and Cummings have been accused of hiding the body because Moore’s family didn’t pay their entire bill. First Family Funeral Home has since had its licence revoked.
It comes after Meadows reportedly lost his funeral director’s license in April 2015 in an unrelated matter. It’s claimed he forged the signature and other information on a life insurance document. Meanwhile, Cummings has never had a funeral license in South Carolina, the news outlet stated.
It follows an initial report by The Post and Courier of Charleston, as part of a larger June series, which published a series of claims of poor oversight of funeral homes in the state.
Moore’s husband, Fred Parker Jr. told The Post and Courier his wife’s remains have since been cremated at another funeral home, and are now in an urn at his home. They apparently lie next to a tiny portrait taken from her driver’s license – the only photo he reportedly has of her.
“How would you feel? It gets worse every day just thinking about it,” he said.