YPSILANTI, Mich. (AP) – A judge dismissed a charge of improper removal of a body that had been filed against the owner of a crematorium in Ypsilanti.
Washtenaw County District Judge J. Cedric Simpson ruled Monday that state prosecutors did not have the evidence to support the indictment against O’Neil Swanson.
Swanson faced up to 10 years in prison and a $ 50,000 fine if convicted of the crime.
The body was removed in March 2019 at Tri-County Cremation Services in Ypsilanti – more than a year before the limited liability corporation Swanson was part of bought the facility, Swanson told the Associated Press on Thursday.
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Swanson, who has pleaded not guilty to two felony counts in 2019 in connection with a funeral home he operated in the Flint area, said he is targeted by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) and that the agency was informed about how long the body had been at the crematorium.
“The state cannot allow conditions to exist for the creation of a crime,” Simpson said. “LARA let this linger on and on until … suddenly there was someone in front of them who they might not like.”
AP left messages Thursday seeking comments from the state licensing agency. The Michigan Attorney General’s Office said in an email that it is reviewing its elections.
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An order to stop and stop was issued in June for the crematorium, which is still closed. Authorities said they began investigating the company after the state received an anonymous complaint of heavy smoke coming out of the chimney, improperly kept bodies awaiting cremation, and body fluids flowing to the floor of the facility.
The body belonged to a woman who died in 2018. The then general manager of the crematorium informed LARA that the body was removed in March 2019 from a funeral home that did not include the proper documents allowing the facility to remove it, Swanson. said.
Swanson said the “previous owner could not do anything” with the body. The state “had a chance to do something about it before I was involved,” he said. “I was wrongfully accused. The facts would never have supported a conviction. This was an extremely embarrassing moment for me and my whole family. “
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Swanson’s Swanson Funeral Home in Flint was closed in 2017 after larvae were found in a garage where unrefrived bodies were stored. Officials later determined prepaid burial contracts were sold without a proper license. His morgue science and morgue establishment licenses were revoked.
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