A Mortuary Tangled in the Macabre : In a scandal that has rocked the state's funeral industry, three members of an All-American family face trial in Pasadena in a case that promises to tell a ghoulish : tale of organ theft and--perhaps--homicide.
December 30, 1988|JOHN JOHNSON | Times Staff Writer
Assistant Hesperia Fire Chief Will Wentworth listened incredulously as a caller complained that the noxious black smoke pouring from a nondescript building in the desert carried the sickeningly sweet smell of burning human flesh.
"I don't think so, it's a ceramics shop," Wentworth replied.
"Don't tell me they're not burning bodies. I was at the ovens at Auschwitz," the man said chillingly, Wentworth recalled.
Wentworth was still skeptical when he drove out to Oscar Ceramics and opened one of the massive brick furnaces. A burning foot fell out. Scattered around the interior, caked black with the accumulated bodily grime from the brick ovens, were trash cans brimming with human ashes and prosthetic devices.
The grisly discoveries on Jan. 20, 1987, have touched off one of the most bizarre scandals in the history of the California funeral industry. A respected industry family is tangled in a ghoulish, still-unfolding tale of organ theft and, perhaps, homicide. The revelations have also prompted a new state law making it easier to police crematories and lawsuits against scores of other mortuaries that sent bodies to the Lamb Funeral Home in Pasadena, attracted by its bargain-basement prices.
And then if you want to know how it all came out check the other Times articles listed at the link at the top of this article. This is NOT even close to a recent scandal, but it's kind of impressive with it's sheer size...
Mind you this 2016 article, "The Terrible Tale of the Lamb Funeral Home" from The Dark California Sun blog isn't bad either.