- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 21, 2015

JACKSONVILLE, Ark. (AP) - The board that oversees Arkansas’ mortuaries suspended a Jacksonville funeral home on Wednesday after finding that its cooler was filled beyond capacity and that seven bodies were left outside to decompose.

The State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors voted to suspend Arkansas Funeral Care of Jacksonville and its owner, LeRoy Wood. An inspector said she was “taken aback” by deplorable conditions.

Leslie Stokes said the mortuary’s cooler held about 25 bodies, including one stacked atop another. One body outside the cooler was leaking fluids onto the floor.

Stokes said she was able to walk into the funeral home earlier this month while a visitation was underway and walk into the unlocked holding area and to the room where bodies are embalmed without being approached or questioned by any employees. 

Arkansas Business reported (https://bit.ly/1uuQ6cd ) that Wood has denied allegations made in a complaint by a former employee. A hearing is set for Friday.

Stokes said Wood had told her that business had been busier than usual in the past month.

Jeff Smith, the president of the Arkansas Funeral Directors Association, said in a statement Wednesday that the “funeral professionals of Arkansas feel a great deal of sympathy for the families involved and our member funeral homes are ready to assist.”

“It is important to understand that the vast majority of funeral homes in Arkansas are conducting business in the right way - with respect and honor for the deceased and the families,” he said in the statement.

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