Mark Allen, the former owner of a funeral home bearing his name in Sun Valley, faces 22 criminal charges for failing to properly maintain and bury non-cremated human remains, the LA City Attorney’s Office said in a statement last week.
The remains were found “in various stages of decay and mummification” on two separate occasions over the past year, officials said.
The putrefied bodies were discovered by authorities after they received several complaints from family members of the deceased.
The Mark B. Allen Mortuary and Cremations Services has since shut down.
According to a petition to shut down the funeral home filed by the state Cemetery and Funeral Bureau, the bodies were found April 2021 in a storage unit that had a temperature of roughly 60 degrees when an agency worker previously visited the mortuary.
Officials observed a “swarm of flies buzzing around” the unit’s exhaust vent, and noted a “foul and overwhelmingly strong” smell of decay, the petition said.
“We’re fighting to get justice for these families in this incredibly sad and shocking situation,” City Attorney Mike Feuer said in a statement.
“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,” he added. “Their deaths are one tragedy, and this alleged monstrous mistreatment is a second tragedy.”
Allen faces up a maximum sentence of 11 years in prison and $110,000 in fines — $10,000 for each body — for violating California Health and Safety Codes.