Ypsilanti crematorium owner facing charges for improper disposal of dead bodies

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — The owner of the Tri-County Crematorium has been charged by the Attorney General, after improperly handling a dead body.

O’Neil Swanson is charged with one count of improper disposal of a dead body, a 10-year felony and a maximum fine of $50,000.

Swanson was additionally was charged as a second-time offender.

Back in 2019, O’Neil Swanson was convicted for the conversion of funds under the Prepaid Funeral and Cemetery Sales Act.

In 2018, his mortuary science license and the mortuary science establishment license previously held by Swanson’s Funeral Home, Inc. in Flint were revoked based on violations of the Occupational Code as well as other health and safety laws.

As a result, Mr. Swanson is ineligible to hold a stake in a cemetery or crematory under the Act.  

“The allegations against Mr. Swanson are incredibly disturbing, and my heart breaks for those who trusted him to care for their deceased loved ones,” Nessel said. “We are committed to ensuring there is criminal accountability in this case.” 

In June, the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) issued a cease and desist order against the crematorium, Swanson and his wife, Dianne.

According to LARA, an anonymously filed statement a complaint alleging that heavy smoke was coming from the crematory chimney, deceased individuals were awaiting cremation and not being properly stored, and bodily fluids were leaking onto the floor of the facility.

Evidence found during the course of LARA’s joint investigation with the Department of Attorney General and verified the following:

  • In March 2020, O’Neil Swanson and Dianne E. Swanson purportedly purchased the existing crematory business without first receiving a certificate of approval for a change of control from the Cemetery Commissioner.
  • In early 2021, Tri-County Cremation Services, L.L.C. identified O’Neil Swanson as its “member” on filings made with LARA’s Corporations Division.
  • Beginning in March 2020, Respondents owned and operated the crematory without a valid registration issued under the Act.
  • Deceased individuals were being improperly stored and bodily fluids were leaking onto the floor of the facility.

The bodies kept by the Tri-County Crematorium were removed or cremated on June 24.

Swanson was given a $5,000 personal recognizance bond, meaning that Swanson can sign his name in order to be released. A probable cause conference is scheduled for Oct. 14. 

The Attorney General is still investigating Swanson and his associates.

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