Indicted funeral home owner refuses to shut down business
DUMFRIES, Va. (FOX 5 DC) - A Virginia funeral home owner ordered to shut down his business is refusing to comply.
Shaun Reid had customers in Maryland, D.C. and Virginia, and is awaiting trial on charges he mixed up human remains, forged death certificates and stole from customers.
Two weeks ago, the town of Dumfries ordered Reid to take town the sign for his funeral home after investigators found he had been storing bodies there even though his town permit only allowed him to sell caskets and urns and plan funerals at the location.
"I believe it's his intent to appeal. I don't think he agrees with the decision to abate the sign," said Dumfries Mayor Derrick Wood.
Wood said if Reid doesn't appeal and still refuses to remove the sign, the town will order the property owner to take it town. Reid's landlord tells FOX 5 that Reid is behind on rent, and that he'll start the eviction process if he's not paid by Friday.
FOX 5 first told you about Reid one year ago, after Maryland State Police confirmed they were investigating after a family in Maryland and a family in D.C. received the wrong cremated remains. Reid was indicted in October in Prince George's County. Investigators say Reid was working as a mortician without a license, forging death certificates and that he intentionally swapped the two sets of remains when he got delayed cremating one of the bodies.
With every story, more people have contacted FOX 5 about Reid alleging they were ripped off or mistreated. Some say Reid did not provide the urns or death certificates they paid for, others suspect their loved one was not properly refrigerated or embalmed, and others say there was a delay to get a family member's cremated remains.
Many have this in common- they were connected with Reid through their local government.
In D.C., Reid's funeral home was contracted with the Department of Human Services' to be part of the burial assistance program for low-income residents in 2016 and 2017.
Even though Reid had a license to own his business in D.C., he was never a licensed mortician. That means he needed someone with a license to plan services, handle bodies and sign death certificates. In 2017, D.C. found he was doing that work himself, released him from his city contract, and fined him $18,000, which remains unpaid, according to the city. A spokesman for the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs says the case was turned over to the Office of the Attorney General. There were no charges filed.
A few months later, Maryland State Police began their investigation into Reid in September 2017.
By then, Reid had already moved on to Dumfries. Reid, again, did not have a mortician's license, and though state records show he was working with licensed mortician named Kenya Stewart, multiple customers tell FOX 5 they never met Stewart despite her name appearing on their loved one's death certificate. Stewart has since moved out of state, and has not replied to a request for comment.
Reid was able to get a vendor's license with Prince William County, and ended up on the police department's list of funeral homes used to transport bodies and hold them for families.
Mayor Wood agrees that there needs to be better communication between different jurisdictions.
"I think the challenge is, you've got state level, you've got county level and then you got local town or city levels," Wood said. "And I think everybody has different rules and laws. For something like this is serious as funeral directing and license we need to have some type of uniform code checklist that everybody looks at."