Flint funeral home closed due to 'deplorable' conditions, including maggots, unrefrigerated bodies

FLINT, Mich. – A Flint funeral home's mortuary science establishment license has been suspended after multiple violations of Michigan’s Health and Occupational Codes, the Prepaid Funeral and Cemetery Sales Act and other state laws.

According to the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, Swanson Funeral Home, Inc. had "deplorable, unsanitary conditions and violations," including:

  • Maggots on the floor of the facility’s garage and garage door.
  • Unrefrigerated human bodies were stored in the un-air-conditioned garage, some for more than 90 days and up to five months.
  • The building smelled of decomposing bodies.
  • Unsanitary preparation room without equipment or supplies necessary for embalming.
  • Blood and fluid stained casket pillows were laying in the hallway.
  • A failure to register as a “producing facility” and submit a Medical Waste Management Plan, under the Medical Waste Regulatory Act.
  • Repeated violations of standards and laws enforced by the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration affecting the handling, custody, care, or transportation of a dead human body.
  • A failure to register to sell prepaid contracts or maintain a contract with a registrant under the Prepaid Act.

Swanson could be subject to fines of up to $10,000 for each violation of the occupational code in addition to continued suspension or revocation of the licenses, as determined by the Michigan Board of Mortuary Science Examiners.

“Michigan residents trust funeral home directors, owners, and their establishments to follow the law especially when dealing with the death of a loved one,” said LARA’s Corporations, Securities and Commercial Licensing Bureau director Julia Dale.  “We will continue to aggressively hold every funeral home in Michigan to the highest standards of public health and safety when providing final arrangements.”  

Those who have used Swanson Funeral Home and have concerns should contact CSCL at 517-241-7000.

Swanson Funeral Home releases statement

A statement on behalf of Swanson Funeral Home was released Wednesday night: 

Swanson Funeral Home is a Detroit-headquartered business with two locations in Detroit – one on East Grand Blvd., and one on West McNichols – and one location in Pontiac.  It has no locations in Flint.   

Swanson’s Funeral Home in Flint is owned and operated by O’Neil D. Swanson II, who is the son of O’Neil Swanson, president of Swanson Funeral Home in Detroit.  O’Neil D. Swanson II has no legal or business connection with his father’s business in Detroit. 

The actions taken by the state affect only Swanson’s Funeral Home in Flint and have no impact on Swanson Funeral Home in Detroit and Pontiac.

O’Neil D. Swanson, president of Swanson Funeral Home, said “The allegations the state has made against the Flint home are shocking and go against every principle of mortuary science.  We have served the community for 59 years and have established an unchallenged record of providing experienced, compassionate service.  I want to make it clear to all that the steps taken by the state against the Flint business do not impact us in any way.”                

Sign up for ClickOnDetroit breaking news alerts and email newsletters