By KCAL/KCBS Staff
LOS ANGELES (KCAL) — Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer charged a Sun Valley funeral home owner after allegedly failing to properly handle the human remains of at least 11 individuals, including infants and another said to be under 10 years old.
The bodies were reportedly found in various stages of decay and mummification, after several families filed complaints about the funeral home.
Feuer’s office filed 22 criminal misdemeanor charges against Mark B. Allen, the owner of Mark B. Allen Mortuary and Cremation Services, two for each body.
He faces up to 11 years in prison and over $100,000 in fines. The funeral home has since been closed.
A slew of investigations were launched after the complaints were initially made; Los Angeles Police Department, the Los Angeles Coroner’s Office and the State Bureau of Consumer Affairs’ Cemetery and Funeral Bureau all launched investigations.
Reports indicate that officials went to the funeral home on multiple separate occasions dating back to 2020, where they located 11 bodies that they claimed were not receiving proper care. Court documents also disclosed that officials noticed a swarm of flies circling the property.
“The odor from inside the facility was so great that officials could detect it outside the facility,” Feuer said. “How would you feel if that was your loved one?”
An investigator that visited the property in 2020 detailed the discovery of an “un-permitted, makeshift cold storage unit” that ran 20 degrees warmer than the industry standard.
Apparently the same investigator returned seven months later, where they reported the smell of decaying bodies – but no files were charged at the time, after learning that LAPD was also investigating.
State records indicate that at one point, the L.A. County Coroner had to remove multiple bodies that were exceedingly poorly taken care of, which led the state to determine that Allen “posed a serious and immediate threat to the public.”
They learned Allen didn’t have a permit to cremate bodies out of his building, with his license being suspended a short time later, and then completely revoked in July 2021.
In a statement, Feuer detailed that each of the charges was “sufficiently severe, that each time an individual body wasn’t cared for properly as we allege, there is a potential for one year in jail and 10,000 dollars in fines.”
“We’re fighting to get justice for these families in this incredibly sad and shocking situation,” Feuer continued. “Eleven people died, including very young children, and the funeral director hired to compassionately prepare the bodies for burial allegedly just let them rot, with neither the decency nor the dignity that all our loved ones deserve. Their deaths are one tragedy, and this alleged monstrous mistreatment is a second tragedy.”
CBS reporters inquired with the State of California in hopes of learning why it took so long revoke Allen’s license, to which they said:
“Consumer protection is a priority for the Cemetery and Funeral Bureau. In general, the circumstances of each case/investigation are unique as is the timeframe of the investigatory process which the Bureau must follow in order to gather evidence to pursue disciplinary action against a licensee.
In this matter, based on the result of a thorough investigation, the Bureau filed for an Interim Suspension Order to temporarily suspend the license of Mark B Allen Mortuary and Cremation Services while preparing formal disciplinary action. The Bureau subsequently revoked the license.
The Bureau reminds consumers to always check the license of a funeral services provider before seeking services or engaging in business. Anyone with a complaint about a Cemetery and Funeral Bureau licensee is encouraged to file a complaint at cfb.ca.gov or (800) 952-5210.”
Allen has reportedly left the state and is living elsewhere with his mother.
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