Cemetery Tourist: Crown Hill Cemetery In Indianapolis, Indiana

Crown Hill Cemetery was incorporated as a non-profit, non-sectarian cemetery in September 1863.  The cemetery originally included 236 acres of farmland located north of Indianapolis, Indiana.  The first interment, of Lucy Ann Seaton, took place on June 2, 1864.  In 1866, the federal government purchased a portion of the cemetery and dedicated it as a national cemetery for the interment of Union soldiers.  Additional acreage was purchased in 1869, 1886, 1887, and 1911. The cemetery currently includes 555 acres, which makes it the country's third largest cemetery.  I grew up a mile away from Crown Hill Cemetery and it has […]

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Who gets to choose whether a body is moved?

On November 1, 2014, a West Michigan family buried their loved one, Shirley Sisco, at Pretty Prairie United Methodist Cemetery in Howe, Indiana. Sisco laid to rest for nearly years surrounded by other deceased members of her family.  All of this changed when members of Sisco's family were informed that the cemetery had plans to dig a driveway right where Sisco was buried. Apparently, Sisco was buried in the wrong location, and the driveway construction was planned at the time of her burial. Instead of changing the plans for the driveway, the cemetery plans to change the final resting place of Sisco, contrary […]

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Unlicensed Funeral Homes Mishandle Corpses

Last year police in West Philadelphia were in for an unsettling surprise when they found decomposing and improperly stored bodies in an unlicensed funeral home. Blair Hawkins, a 53-year-old funeral director from New Jersey, faces probation after being found guilty of three counts of abuse of corps for mishandling bodies in his unlicensed funeral home, Hawkins Funeral Service at 53rd and Vine streets. According to police documents, two of the bodies were decomposing. Another body was improperly embalmed, and kept in a coffin in an unventilated room. One of the bodies was left in a body bag so decomposed that […]

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Bad Samaritan or Abuse of a Corpse

In Rockcastle County, Kentucky a couple was charged with abuse of a corpse after the two of them drove around with a corpse for more three hours. The couple and a friend were doing  drugs when the friend overdosed and died. The couple then drove around with the dead body for three or four hours. The couple did not take the overdosed friend to the hospital. Police estimate that the couple drove pass three hospitable on their way home. The body was found in a minivan and witnesses told police that they saw the body being dragged.  As a general […]

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No Construction Permit for Mausoleums in DC, Even in Historic District

When Benjamin C. Bradlee, former editor of The Washington Post, died on October 21, 2014, he was buried in a plot in Oak Hill Cemetery. The plot was purchased by the Bradlee family ten years prior to his death because the cemetery was running out of room.   Oak Hill Cemetery is a nearly 170 year-old rural cemetery nestled in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, DC. To solve the issues of decreasing availability, the cemetery has begun renovation efforts to create additional burial sites. One of these renovation projects has been to sell new mausoleum plots on one side of the […]

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Why You Should Double-Check Your Prepaid Funeral

In October 2016, Toby Polley, a former Missouri funeral home owner, was charged with five counts of felony financial exploitation of the elderly.  Polley was allegedly taking payments for “pre-arranged funeral and burial services,” but then forcing consumers and their families to pay again later for the services that had already been paid for. A “preneed” funeral contract allows funeral consumers to pay in advance for the funeral and burial services they will require after their passing.  Many consumers choose to prepay for these services to spare their loved ones the hassle and expense of financing a funeral, which typically […]

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Resurrection of Competition in the Funeral Industry: Potential Online Price List Requirement

Funerals can be both emotionally and financially draining on a deceased’s loved ones. When planning a funeral, there are numerous expenses involved – including embalming, caskets, flowers, use of the funeral home, burial plots, headstones, etc. It is very common that loved ones do not shop around when purchasing these items, but rather buy from the first funeral home they are in contact with. Even if consumers attempted to compare prices of funeral homes, they likely will not be able to locate the prices of these items on a funeral home’s website. This is because funeral homes are only required […]

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Abandoned Ashes Piling Up in Minnesota

As the popularity of cremation has risen, Minnesota’s funeral establishments have found themselves holding thousands of abandoned cremated remains.  This problem arises most often when the family members of the deceased are grieving, unwilling to accept their loved one is gone, or uncertain what to do with the cremated remains.  While most of these remains are collected within a few months some get abandoned at the funeral home or cremation facility for decades.  One funeral home owner estimated that there are 200-600 containers of deserted ashes at his 16 funeral homes, while another has remains that have gone unclaimed for […]

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Discovery of Decomposing Bodies in Funeral Home Leads to Arrests

Callaway, Florida. Two funeral directors were arrested this summer after Bay County Sheriffs discovered sixteen corpses in various stages of decomposition throughout Brock’s Home Town Funeral Home.   At 5 PM on August 18, officers from the BCSO entered the funeral home and immediately noticed an abundance of flies buzzing throughout the funeral home. They soon realized that six bodies were being kept in the parlor of the funeral home without any refrigeration at all, causing the bodies to decay. There were an additional ten corpses being kept in the funeral home’s “cooler” at a temperature of sixty-two degrees. State law, […]

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Did Litchfield Prison Officials’ Delay in Reporting a Death Violate New York Law?

In the season four finale of Orange is the New Black, tensions between guards and inmates came to a head. The inmates joined together in an “Oh Captain, My Captain” style peaceful protest – all standing atop tables in the cafeteria during dinner. However, the peaceful protest soon turned tragic when reviled guard, Piscatella, orders the other guards to pull the women down off the tables. Fans watched in horror and disbelief as beloved character, Poussey Washington, was crushed to death in the chaos that ensues. As the other inmates mourn Poussey’s death, viewers watched prison director, Joe Caputo, struggle […]

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