Callaway, Florida. Two funeral directors were arrested this summer after Bay County Sheriffs discovered sixteen corpses in various stages of decomposition throughout Brock’s Home Town Funeral Home. At 5 PM on August 18, officers from the BCSO entered the funeral home and immediately noticed an abundance of flies buzzing throughout the funeral home. They soon realized that six bodies were being kept in the parlor of the funeral home without any refrigeration at all, causing the bodies to decay. There were an additional ten corpses being kept in the funeral home’s “cooler” at a temperature of sixty-two degrees. State law, however, requires that corpses be stored at temperatures not warmer than forty degrees. The funeral home had promised the families of the deceased either cremation or embalming services. However, “‘none of the bodies had been embalmed,’ officers wrote. ‘Those remains whose families requested cremation had not been cremated.’”
Following this grisly discovery, Gregory Dunphy, the funeral home’s director, and Felicia Boesch, the daughter of the home’s owner, were charged with 16 counts of unlawful storage of human remains. Yet bringing charges against Dunphy and Boesch did not even begin to address the issues that now faced the families of the deceased.
Following the arrest of Dunphy and Boesch, responsibility for the bodies being held at Brock’s Home Town Funeral Home fell to local authorities. Specifically, the 14th Judicial Circuit’s Medical Examiner’s Office was tasked with the arduous undertaking of “going through the paperwork for each of the deceased to see what the families wanted for their loved ones and honor those requests.” To make matters worse, many, if not all, of these families had to pay cremation or embalming fees a second time. According to local official, “if another funeral home doesn’t step up to offer assistance, the families of the 16 deceased likely would have to pay out of pocket and then pursue relief through the civil courts.” Given the fact that Brock’s was “primarily a low-income funeral home,” these families were likely put under tremendous financial stress by this horrible turn of events.
In short, the Brock’s Home Town Funeral Home fiasco was nothing short of a nightmare for those involved and illustrates the importance of regulation of the funeral home industry so as to avoid similar catastrophes in the future.
For more information, see: http://www.newsherald.com/news/20160816/attention-turns-to-recovered-bodies; http://www.newsherald.com/news/20160818/state-aid-unlikely-for-victims-families-in-funeral-home-case; http://www.nwfdailynews.com/news/20160816/decomposing-corpses-lead-to-arrest-of-funeral-director; http://www.nwfdailynews.com/news/20160819/victims-families-in-funeral-home-case-facing-second-cremation-charge; http://www.nwfdailynews.com/news/20160817/arrangements-being-made-for-recovered-decomposing-bodies-at-funeral-home