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Police remove 17 bodies from Modesto, Calif. funeral home

May 20, 2013 at 3:28 PM

MODESTO, Calif., May 20 (UPI) -- Seventeen bodies were removed from a Modesto, Calif., funeral home in a criminal and civil investigation of cremation delays, sheriff's deputies said.

The business was identified as the McGuire Cremation and Funeral Service, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The unusual move by the Stanislaus County, Calif., Sheriff's Department, at the request of the county coroner, came after the county public health officer stopped issuing burial and cremation permits on May 1 to the funeral home. The public health officer cited complaints "regarding delays in cremation of family members," the Modesto Bee said.

The family of Dewey Cotton Sr. experienced a 35-day delay in receiving his remains from the business, obtaining his ashes more than a month after their promised March 16 delivery date, KTXL-TV, Sacramento, said.

The Sheriff's Department acknowledged "an investigation into potential criminal and civil violations with the business for the past several months" in a statement Friday.

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