Report: Decomposing body found at Arkansas funeral home

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Posted: Jan 23, 2015 7:35 PM
Report: Decomposing body found at Arkansas funeral home

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — An inspection of an Arkansas funeral home that has since been suspended found bodies stacked in a cooler packed beyond capacity and other bodies that hadn't been embalmed lying out in the open, the inspector wrote.

Leslie Stokes told the Arkansas Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors that one of the bodies she came across during her Jan. 12 inspection of Arkansas Funeral Care in Jacksonville was "half covered in a bed sheet that was saturated in bodily fluids that had seeped from the body," the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported (http://bit.ly/1JhhIot ). When she returned the next day, the body was still there, "half wrapped in a soiled sheet, unrefrigerated," she wrote.

The board suspended the licenses of the funeral home and its manager, LeRoy Wood, during an emergency hearing Wednesday.

A woman who answered the funeral home's phone Friday said she couldn't take a message for Wood asking for his response to the suspension of his license and allegations against him. In a statement to the board, Wood said: "We have the utmost respect, care and reverence for everyone's loved one we are privileged to serve."

Wood has not been charged with breaking any laws, and authorities had not said as of Friday morning whether they were considering pressing charges.

Thirty-one bodies were moved from the funeral home to the state crime lab or Pulaski County's coroner's office.

Board staff members spent much of Thursday notifying the families of the deceased where the bodies had been taken so they could arrange to have the transferred to other funeral homes, said Amy Goode, the board's executive secretary.

The board began investigating the funeral home after a former employee informed it in a Jan. 12 letter that the business showed a "blatant disregard for the dead."