Authorities revealed on Friday that they have recovered the cremated remains of 154 people as well as six additional bodies earlier this month from a warehouse in the city of Hayward in the San Francisco Bay Area. According to officials, all of the remains are connected to a Hayward mortuary whose license was suspended in 2018.
The bodies and cremated remains were removed from the warehouse by the Alameda County Coroner’s Bureau on March 1, according to the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office. According to the sheriff’s office, all are associated with Oceanview Cremations and are thought to be people who were given to the funeral home between 2013 and 2021.
The sheriff’s office stated in a news release that five of the six recovered bodies have been identified. According to the sheriff’s office, Robert Smith, the owner of Oceanview Cremations, has been unable to identify the sixth body, which was transported from Sonoma County, because he “was not able to produce any viable information about the location of death or the next of kin.” According to the release, Oceanview received all six decedents in 2020 and 2021.
t. Tya Modeste, a sheriff’s office spokesperson, told CBS News Saturday that, so far, the identities of four of the 154 cremated individuals have been confirmed by family members.
All 154 cremated remains had been tagged and labeled, Modeste added.
One of the four family members who contacted the sheriff’s office, according to Modeste, thought he already had his father’s cremated remains. However, Modeste noted that among the items discovered in the warehouse were cremated remains identified as those of his father.
“We don’t know whose ashes he has,” Modeste told CBS News.
Oceanview reportedly held both a corporate license and an individual license with the same name, according to the sheriff’s office. The sheriff’s office reported that its business license had been suspended in 2018. However, they claimed that up until January of this year, it was still operating under its unique license.
The California Cemetery and Funeral Board did not notify the coroner’s bureau of Oceanview’s 2018 suspension until February 28, according to the sheriff’s office.
The board also noted that according to the sheriff’s office, Oceanview was not permitted to store remains in the Hayward warehouse that it was using.
The coroner’s bureau can be reached at 510-382-3000 if you used Oceanview Cremations services between 2013 and 2022.