Leaking bodily fluids discovered at Tennessee mausoleum


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JACKSON, Tennessee (WREG) – A body leak was discovered at a Tennessee mausoleum after a cemetery operator dropped it in extreme disrepair, state regulators say.

“If they don’t have enough people to take care of the bodies they’re trying to manipulate, I don’t want to give them one more,” said client Gail Mann.

The issues arise after a series of similar issues exposed by WREG at StoneMor’s facilities in Memphis.

Mann was responding to a rat infestation in one of the locations. The state fined StoneMor $ 14,000 after it said two bodies at the facility were partially eaten.

WREG previously reported a decaying mausoleum in one location and other ongoing management issues.

“You call, half the time you don’t even get a reception. No return call, ”said Eddie Hayslett, a client of the Whitten Road site at the time.

Now Tennessee lawmakers are getting involved.

“It really has become a huge problem,” State Senator Ed Jackson R-Madison said.

Jackson first learned of the problem from his neighbor, whose wife is buried in the mausoleum at Highlands Memorial Gardens in Jackson.

“He said he smelled really bad. It took a lot of things. It was hot in there. The air conditioning units weren’t working, ”Jackson said.

Jackson contacted the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance, whose inspectors then toured the facility.

“Tragically, there have been leaks of bodily fluids,” department spokesman Kevin Walters said, citing lack of air conditioning as the cause.

The department has suspended the cemetery from any new business.

“They can’t sell any property or bury anyone in the mausoleum,” Jackson said.

Jackson said he was working with State Senator Brian Kelsey, R-Shelby County, to hold StoneMor accountable.

“It’s a shame it must have come to this point,” Jackson said. “Eventually it will work, I promise you.” Whatever we have to do, we’ll make it work.

A company spokesperson said they were resolving the leakage issues and had been in private contact with the affected families.

Regulators are urging the public to file a complaint if they have any problems.

“We can’t step in and take action until the public lets us know,” Walters said.

The state also has the option of revoking StoneMor’s license to operate in locations statewide.

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