Crematory to remain under supervision
Published 10:34 pm Saturday, April 26, 2008
A member of the state Board of Funeral Service says the regulatory agency will continue to oversee operations at a Jackson crematorium that has come under scrutiny until a licensing hearing is held.
A judge on April 9 ordered the Seepe Funeral Home and Crematorium to operate only under the oversight of the board. The order expires Monday and legal technicalities caused a delay in the licensing hearing.
The hearing was schedule for Monday but was pushed back to May 22 to meet a 20-day notice requirement. Crematory owner Mark Seepe is accused of improperly disposing of human remains.
Charles Riles, the chairman of the funeral board, said he reviewed the state regulations governing the funeral industry and they give the board the authority to inspect licensed facilities at will.
“Mr. Seepe will continue under our supervision because he is a licensee of the Mississippi Board of Funeral Service,” he said. “We will continue to monitor him as we do all licensees.”
Riles said state regulations allow for unannounced or announced inspections by the funeral board.
“It doesn’t say how often they can be,” he said.
Seepe’s attorney, former Jackson Mayor Dale Danks Jr., said his client will follow state law regarding cremations regardless of whether the court order is in effect.
Seepe has been under scrutiny for the past month after photos taken by a former employee were made public that appear to show bones and ash from a broken crematory being commingled in a 55-gallon barrel. Other former Seepe employees have since come forward with claims that he kept bones and ash in buckets and other containers and gave clients the wrong ashes. Bones also were discovered in a trash bin outside his crematory.
The board has visited Seepe’s crematory once since Thomas court order. Board vice chairman Bubba Lang inspected it last Friday.
Lang said the hole visible in the floor of the crematory in photos taken by the former employee had been repaired. Lang also said Seepe had not cremated anyone since the court order went into effect.