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CFO Sink Files Charges against Haines City Funeral Home Owners for Improper Burial of Organs

9/11/2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 11, 2009                               
CONTACT: Kyra Jennings or Nina Banister, (850) 413-2842
 
CFO SINK FILES CHARGES AGAINST HAINES CITY FUNERAL HOME OWNERS FOR IMPROPER BURIAL OF ORGANS
 
TALLAHASSEE—Florida CFO Alex Sink announced that the Department of Financial Services issued administrative charges today against Haines City-based Holmes Funeral Directors, Inc., as well as the funeral director in charge and an additional funeral director and embalmer, for a range of violations including improperly preserving and burying internal body organs. 
 
In June 2009, CFO Sink issued an emergency order suspending the license of Holmes’ funeral director and embalmer Claude Edward Holmes, Jr. after his arrest by Polk County Sheriff’s Office on charges of dumping raw human waste for commercial purposes.
 
Based on the findings of the probable cause panel of the Board of Funeral, Cemetery and Consumer Services, CFO Sink’s Department today filed formal charges seeking disciplinary action, including license revocation.  Administrative Charges were filed against the funeral home, against Claude Edward Holmes Jr., a funeral director and embalmer, and against Deliria Holmes, his wife and the funeral director in charge.  They have 21 days from receipt of the administrative complaints to respond.
 
“The Department holds its licensees to the highest standards,” said CFO Sink. “Funeral directors and embalmers are called upon to provide their services to citizens at a time when they are most vulnerable—following the death of a loved one.”
 
In June, a Polk County maintenance crew working at Oakland Cemetery in Haines City discovered a bag containing improperly disposed of human remains partially-buried among gravesites and reported the discovery to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, who confirmed that the bag contained human remains.  Industry embalming standards provide that in such cases the viscera be preserved and in most cases re-inserted in the body for burial.  Mr. Holmes instead buried the internal organs in a shallow hole dug in a different cemetery from where the body was buried.
 
The administrative complaints also charge that Holmes Funeral Directors, Inc. used an unlicensed person without proper training to perform biohazard removals, issued contracts for services that did not contain required information, operated with an expired license, and failed to obtain proper authorization to take possession of and embalm bodies.
 
The Department of Financial Services was given authority over licensees of the Division of Funeral, Cemetery and Consumer Services in 2005.  For more information about the Division of Funeral, Cemetery and Consumer Services, log on to http://www.myfloridacfo.com/FuneralCemetery/fc_board_schedule.htm.
 

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