A Jacksonville funeral home director has been charged for improperly handling the remains of his clients.
According to First Coast News, Elliot Maurice Graham, the funeral director at Marion Graham Mortuaries, was charged with false and fraudulent insurance claims, grand theft, and five counts of misdemeanor improper preservation of a human body.
Several families have come forward with allegations against Graham, claiming that he didn't properly embalm their relatives and gave them fake ashes.
The family of Ola Mae Brown Jackson, who died after a battle with cancer in September 2023, said they used Marion Graham Mortuaries for the wake and cremations. Months later, the family said they still hadn't received Jackson's remains. Jackson's husband confronted the funeral director on January 14. The husband had to wait outside for 45 minutes before Graham brought out what he claimed were Jackson's ashes. Loved ones then filed a complaint.
"We never imagined this," Paula Wright, Jackson's sister-in-law, said.
Takenya Sutton and Danielle Streater said they used Marion Graham Mortuaries for their cousin's funeral. The families claimed their cousin's body was improperly embalmed.
"We were barely able to have a wake. The family viewed the body briefly. From there, we had to close it off for the public because the smell was horrible," Streater said.
After receiving complaints about the alleged mishandling of remains, the state agency that oversees funerals and cemeteries moved to secure the premises and take of the remaining bodies.
A warrant was issued for Graham's arrest last week.
The Department of Financial Services is working with families who have a pre-need contract with Marion Graham Mortuaries. Unless you are contacted directly, there is no reason to believe you don't have the proper remains of your loved ones, according to DFS.
An investigation remains ongoing.