QUINCY (CBS13) — Logger Phillip Henry’s body was found nine months after his open-casket funeral in the garage of an out-of-business funeral home.
Plumas County Sheriff investigation photos show the walk-in refrigerator inside a garage at Fehrman’s Mortuary in Quincy. One picture shows dead flies on top of a cardboard box containing Mr. Henry’s body.
Henry died in August of 2018. After his open-casket funeral, he was supposed to be cremated. Weeks later, Funeral Director John Fehrman died and the funeral home closed. When Henry’s family didn’t get Phillip’s remains back, they turned to the California Cemetery and Funeral Bureau and the Plumas County Coroner, asking for help.
Neither agency inspected the out-of-business funeral home for months until the Fehrman family reported an unnamed body in a refrigerator in a garage at the Funeral Home. As Call Kurtis investigated, neither agency rushed in to recover the body.
On a warm day, the week before Memorial Day, photos tell the story of what the Plumas Sheriff’s Department found.
Swipe through pictures from the out-of-business funeral home’s garage
The temperature gauge on the refrigeration unit sits at 63 degrees. A wooden stick is propped against the closed cooler door handle, the words “Cooler Door Prop Stick” handwritten in black ink.
A cardbfoard casket sits covered with dead flies. Phillip Henry’s body was decomposing inside. One bouquet of flowers sits atop the casket. Another has fallen to the ground.
Another photo shows a sign on the cooler door, the word WARNING typed in bright red capital letters. The California Code of Regulations follows, outlining the proper “Care and Preparation for Burial…Any licensed funeral establishment or licensed funeral director failing to comply” warns the sign, “shall be subject to disciplinary action by the (Funeral and Cemetery) Bureau”.
We’re now learning, in a Sheriff’s incident report, two families were looking for their loved one’s cremains. The other man, Charles Leonard Elston, died in April 2018 and also was supposed to be cremated.
The Call Kurtis team reached out to the state Cemetery and Funeral Board about Elston’s potentially missing remains. A representative told us, “The Cemetery and Funeral Bureau received a call on June 27 regarding the cremated remains of Charles Elston. The caller was encouraged to file a complaint but did not. To CFB’s knowledge, there are no missing remains associated with Fehrman Mortuary and Crematory. Any consumer who has reason to believe this business failed to fulfill its professional obligations is urged to file a complaint with CFB so their case can be fully investigated. “