Police: Munhall funeral director left body unrefrigerated for more than a week

  • In US
  • 2022-11-24 05:01:00Z
  • By Tribune-Review, Greensburg, Pa.

Nov. 24-A Munhall funeral home owner has been charged with abuse of a corpse after, police say, he left a body unrefrigerated for more than a week.

Michael Aldrich, 74, director at Aldrich Funeral Home in Munhall, was charged by Munhall police.

The family of Dexter Owens, who died in late August, arranged for his body to be prepared at West Funeral Home. That funeral home is operated by Aldrich Funeral Homes through an agreement, according to court records.

When Owens' sisters located another funeral home to provide the same services for a lower price, they called Aldrich Funeral Home to have the body transferred, only to be told that it had already been cremated, police said.

That was not the case, according to court documents.

Owens' brother, Kevin Owens, told police he and Aldrich worked out a deal to pay Aldrich for the services already rendered, and for transportation and storage of Owens' body, which would be released to Shamiah Coulverson.

Owens told police that Coulverson called him after visiting the funeral home on Sept. 9, saying that Owens' body was in a state of heavy decomposition.

"Coulverson explained that upon her arrival at the rear garage entrance to Aldrich's funeral home, she could already smell something rotting," Sgt. James Williams wrote in a criminal complaint. "Coulverson described the body as decomposed, with Dexter's face being unrecognizable, the bag leaking fluid, having a horrible stench and with maggots present in the bag."

Pennsylvania law requires that a body be embalmed, placed in a sealed casket, or refrigerated if its final disposition has not been decided within 24 hours.

Coulverson said the refrigeration unit where Owens' body was stored was not cold, and was told by another staff member that it had only been plugged in the day of her arrival, according to a criminal complaint.

Aldrich is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Jan. 4 in District Judge Patrick Campbell's Homestead court.

Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick by email at pvarine@triblive.com or via Twitter .


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