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Seventeen bodies removed from funeral home

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POSTED May 20, 2013 12:10 a.m.

MODESTO  (AP) — Seventeen bodies have been removed from a Modesto funeral home after complaints the home was taking too long to cremate the bodies, officials said.

The removal of the bodies on Friday from McGuire Cremation & Funeral Service came as the funeral home was being investigated for “potential criminal and civil violations with the business for the past several months,” Stanislaus County sheriff’s Sgt. Anthony Bejaran said in a statement.

Sheriff’s officials did not release additional details but Stanislaus County’s public health officer, John Walker said that he had suspended permits for burial or cremation by the funeral home on May 1 because of several complaints “regarding delays in cremation of family members.”

Officials with the Stanislaus County Health Services Agency began looking into the funeral home after receiving complaints and noticed problems with the time between the issuance of permits and their completion, which also is filed with the county, Jessica Montoya-Juarez, communicable disease manager for the Stanislaus County Health Services Agency.

Officials did not say how long the bodies had been at the funeral home, and the names of the decedents have not been released.

The bodies were removed by personnel from the Stanislaus County Coroner’s Office, who will also help family members with the final disposition of the bodies, Bejaran said in the statement.

McGuire Cremation & Funeral Service offers “cremation packages” ranging from $425 to $1,725, according to its website.

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