The National Funeral Home in Falls Church, Virginia stores unrefrigerated corpses, including some bound for Arlington National Cemetery, in hallways and garages for months on end, according to embalmer-turned-whistleblower Steven Napper. The Funeral Home’s owner, Texas-based Service Corporation International, told Napper that they were unwilling to pay for refrigeration, which would prevent corpses from leaking and growing mold.
During his time there, Napper said, as many as 200 corpses were left on makeshift gurneys in the garage, in hallways and in a back room, unrefrigerated and leaking fluids onto the floor. Some were stored on cardboard boxes or were balanced on biohazard containers. At least half a dozen veterans destined for the hallowed ground at Arlington National Cemetery were left in their coffins on a garage rack, Napper said.
He began to take photographs in December and presented them to the Virginia Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers. Federici and Napper’s observations — accounts supported by three others who have worked there — have led to a probe by the state board, although board officials said they were prohibited by law from disclosing such an inquiry. Several people said they were interviewed by a board investigator in recent weeks.
Stringfield said he and other contracted van drivers were instructed to leave bodies in the garage if there was no room in the coolers, something Stringfield refused to do. He said he spoke to a board investigator about the situation last month.
“You don’t leave a body uncovered. You don’t let a body leak. You don’t leave a body on a stretcher in the garage,” Stringfield said. “But who’s going to see it?”
“A lot of the bodies that are there are there for a week or a month, and they’re just sitting there dripping on the floor,” the employee said. “The families don’t know anything about it because the families aren’t allowed at Central.”
The Virginia Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers is investigating Napper’s accusations. Don’t worry though, Service Corporation International is already on the case. “I can assure you,” J. Scott Young, President of SCI Virginia Funeral Services said, “that our company takes these allegations very seriously.”
Funeral Home Employees Say Bodies Were Mishandled [The Washington Post]