COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina funeral home workers let a woman’s body rot in an unrefrigerated room for more than two years over a debt owed by family, according to the Associated Press.
Lawrence Robert Meadows and Roderick Mitchell Cummings, both 40, face charges of desecration of human remains, of which a conviction could mean one to 10 years in prison.
63-year-old Mary Alice Pitts Moore was set for cremation back in March 2015 following a Celebration of Life service.
Because the family didn’t pay the whole bill, however, Cummings and Meadows decided to keep the body, according to arrest warrants.
Moore’s body was left in a locked room, buried under blankets with “fragrant items” surrounding it, the family’s lawsuit states according to the AP. The body had also been moved to another funeral home 65 miles away.
When the scene was found in February, the coroner spent two weeks reviewing medical records to confirm Moore’s identity due to the body’s decomposition, the coroner told the AP.
The First Family Funeral Home lost its license earlier this month.
While Meadows had a funeral director’s license back when the incident first took place, he lost it a month later for forging a signature and other information on a life insurance document.
Cummings never had a South Carolina funeral license.
Since then, another funeral home agreed to cremate Moore’s body and inurn her ashes.
Fred Parker Jr. now keeps his wife’s ashes at his home beside the only photo he has of her, a tiny portrait from her driver’s license, the AP reports.