Horrifying funeral home allegations prompt bill that would give Colorado regulators more power to inspect

Bill inspired by criminal allegations against former Lake County coroner, owners of Sunset Mesa funeral home

Sam Tabachnik
The Denver Post
Rick Neuendorf, 63, with a portrait of his wife Cherrie, who was 67 when she died Dec. 11, 2013, poses for a portrait outside his home on Oct. 24, 2018, in Montrose. Rick and his daughter, Chrissy Hartman, are part of a group fighting to find the locations of their loved ones’ remains that were sold by Megan Hess of Sunset Mesa Funeral Directors & Donor Services in Montrose, Colorado. Cherrie’s entire body was sold then shipped right after her open casket funeral, the FBI told him. Unfortunately at this time, the family does not know where the remains were sent.
Joe Amon/The Denver Post

With a federal trial looming for two Western Slope women accused of selling body parts around the world without families’ consent, Colorado lawmakers are looking to bring state inspection of funeral homes up to speed to prevent such alleged atrocities from happening again.

HB22-1073 would allow the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies to inspect funeral homes and crematories if the agency receives a complaint about the business. Currently, the department has no authority to inspect these businesses without the consent of an owner.

The bill has been shaped by two horrifying stories of alleged funeral home malpractice in Colorado, prompting lawmakers in their jurisdictions to take action.

At the Sunset Mesa Funeral Directors in Montrose, owners Megan Hess and her mother Shirley Koch allegedly deceived hundreds of families by giving them fake ashes or cremated remains that belonged to other people while discretely selling bodies snd body parts without telling loved ones.

Read more via The Denver Post.

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