HAYWARD, Calif. (CNN, KYMA/KECY) - A California crematorium is under fire for allegedly leaving bodies in a warehouse for up to ten years.
Families had been trying to locate the remains of their loved ones, but they say the owner never responded.
Inside this Hayward warehouse, law enforcement found six bodies and 154 remains which had been cremated. Some of the remains held for almost 10 years.
"I think if families hadn't start complaining we probably even wouldn't be here right now," said Lt. Tya Modeste of the Alameda County Sheriff's Office.
Operating on a suspended license
Modeste is speaking on behalf of the Coroner's Office.
According to Modeste, Oceanview Cremations Corporation had allegedly been operating on a suspended license going back to 2018.
It may have been allowed to cremate but not to store the remains.
"That's how they ended up incorporating the warehouse and having them stored there so that they weren't actually on their premises. But the issue there is that the warehouse was not licensed to store the remains either," Modeste further spoke.
On February 28 of this year, the California Cemetery and Funeral Bureau notified the Coroner's Office of what's going on. The next day, the Coroner's Office went to retrieve the remains.
"Of the six bodies and that 154 remains that were located, that's a large span of time from 2013 to 2021," Modeste added.
Struggle to find loved ones
Yelp Reviews document the struggle many families faced trying to find their loved ones. Some say the company's website was suspended.
"Of the six decedents that we recovered, five of them have been identified and those families said that they had attempted to follow up with Oceanview and they were not able to get in contact with the owner," Modeste further said.
Modeste says many families just assumed the bodies were cremated and the ashes dispersed up as per their contract. But these 154 cremated bodies were labeled and the families are now being notified.
"Some of the remains were supposed to be, you know, spread at sea and that clearly didn't happen," Modeste concluded.
Oceanview Cremations did not return requests for comment.