Bodies decomposed for months in hot Michigan funeral home garage, inspectors say

Grieving families are left searching for answers
Posted at 5:55 PM, Jul 13, 2017

On the day of their loved one’s visitation, a family learned the funeral home they planned to use was shut down for alleged deplorable treatment of bodies.

Michigan state inspectors say when they entered a garage at the Swanson Funeral Home in Flint, they immediately saw maggots on the garage door.  

When they went inside, they found dead bodies that had been left in the heat for as long as five months. 

Inside the funeral home, there was an unsanitary preparation room lacking the supplies needed for embalming.  Inspectors say they found casket pillows soaked with bodily fluids in the hallway.

“Our minds were going crazy because we didn’t know what was going on,” said Pete Lazo.

Lazo’s mother-in-law’s visitation was scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, the day the state shut the funeral home down. 

Swartz Funeral Home in Genesee County’s Mundy Township responded to help.  

They offered to pick up his mother-in-law’s body and immediately prepare her for a visitation with immediate family in just hours. They held her funeral service Thursday afternoon.  

They did this at no charge for the family that had already paid for a funeral at the now shuttered Swanson Funeral Home in Flint.

“It tells you there are good people in the world,” said Lazo.

Detroit-based WXYZ went to the West Bloomfield Township home where neighbors say O’Neil Swanson II, the owner of the Swanson Funeral Home in Flint lives to try to get his response to the allegations.

It appeared someone was home. No one answered the door.

The owner of Swanson Funeral Homes in Detroit and Pontiac released a statement saying he is shocked by the allegations, but has no business or legal connection to the Flint business.

“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 statement read.

State Inspectors with the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs suspended the license of O’Neil Swanson II.  

The Michigan Attorney General’s Office is expected to review their investigations and decide what charges he will face, if any.