Six bodies, 154 cremated remains recovered at suspended crematorium's Hayward warehouse
HAYWARD -- Authorities on Friday confirmed that six bodies and the cremated remains of 154 people -- mostly unidentified -- were recently uncovered at a warehouse connected with an East Bay mortuary that had its license suspended in 2018.
According to an Alameda County Sheriff's Office press release, Oceanview Cremations had its business license suspended in March of 2018 and was prohibited from storing human remains on its premises. The sheriff's office later clarified that "Oceanview had a corporation and an individual license with the same name. The corporation was suspended in 2018, and the individual license was suspended in January 2023."
In late February of this year, the county coroner's bureau learned from the California Cemetery and Funeral Bureau that the business had continued its operation and was storing the remains of 160 deceased people at an unauthorized warehouse. The sheriff's office also noted that the bureau has unable to tell authorities "when Ocean became unlicensed to store remains on the premises."
Alameda County coroner is asking for the public's help determining the identity of the one body and the remains of the 154 people that it has been able to determine.
The discovery has begun the painful and difficult task of reconnecting more than a hundred Bay Area families with their lost loved ones.
KPIX visited Oceanview Cremations in Hayward earlier this week after the allegations surfaced.
The office building on Mission Boulevard was closed with the shades drawn and no sign outside. The owner, Robert Smith Sr., was not on the premises.
While five of the decedents have been identified and their families informed of the investigation, the identities of the rest are unknown. When authorities notified the families, family members said that they believed their loved ones had been cremated or scattered at sea and that calls to Smith had gone unanswered.
Of those bodies, one decedent is unidentified because Smith was unable to provide any viable information about the location of death or the next of kin. The Coroner's Bureau learned that the decedents were received at the funeral home between 2020 and 2021, with five of them coming from Alameda County. The sixth came from Sonoma County, but the owner could not provide a timeframe for when the remains were received.
Authorities said it has been determined that, among the unidentified cremated remains, 64 were from Alameda County and 23 were from San Francisco County while 15 were from San Mateo County, 10 were from Contra Costa County, 9 were from Marin and Santa Clara counties, 8 were from Sonoma County, 4 were from Santa Cruz County and 2 were from Napa and Solano counties. The balance of the remains were from other counties across northern and central California.
Anyone who contracted Oceanview Cremations with final arrangements for a loved one between 2013 and 2022 and is uncertain of the whereabouts of their remains is asked to contact the Alameda County Coroner's Bureau at (510) 382-3000.
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