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Funeral home where decaying bodies found faces criminal charges

City Atty. Mike Feuer announced on Friday criminal charges against a former Sun Valley funeral home owner Friday for improperly handling 11 bodies, which were left to decompose.

Mark B. Allen faces 22 charges for violating the state’s health and safety laws. If found guilty, he faces up to 11 years in jail.

“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,” Feuer said.

Allen could not be reached for comment.

An investigation into Mark B. Allen Mortuary and Cremations Services was prompted in July 2020, when state authorities received several complaints from clients that the mortuary had not released to them the remains of their relatives, according to a declaration submitted by a bureau investigator.

During an inspection, the investigator noted five bodies were being stored improperly at too warm of a temperature, which was accelerating their decomposition, according to the declaration.

Spurred on by more complaints, bureau investigators, Los Angeles police and others returned to the mortuary over the following year and discovered six more bodies exuding “foul and overwhelming” odors and attracting swarms of flies, according to the petition to suspend Allen’s license.

In June 2021, nearly a year after the first visit, authorities moved to suspend Allen’s business. A few months later, the state’s Department of Consumer Affairs revoked his license after Allen refused to cooperate with the investigation, according to the order submitted by the department.

The mortuary is now closed.

“There’s been nothing like this since I’ve been city attorney,” Feuer said during a news conference Friday. “And we’ve prosecuted more than 300,000 cases.”

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