Funeral director found guilty after bodies found at unlicensed W. Phila. funeral home

- A funeral director has been found guilty after three bodies were found at an unlicensed funeral home in West Philadelphia back in August 2015.

The director was found guilty of abuse of corpse and faces a maximum of 24 months in prison.

The incident took place at Hawkins Funeral Home located on the 5300 block of Vine. Cops say Pa. State officials got a tip about the bodies, launched a state investigation and then called Philadelphia Police.

Philadelphia Police Lt. John Walker says Funeral Director Blair Hawkins is licensed himself, but picked up two of the bodies which did not have signed death certificates. Police say two started decomposing despite regulations that require bodies to be embalmed within 24 hours.  

"It's just terrible for the families. They are paying somebody to do the right thing and unfortunately people are cutting corners using situations like this to save a few dollars. You have a responsibility to care for the dead,” said Philadelphia Police Lt. John Walker..

The IDs on the bodies are unknown at this time. This funeral home crackdown comes less than a week after three decomposing bodies were found in a garage, which belonged to the Powell Funeral home in North Philadelphia, police say.

Police say this sends a message: "It is unacceptable behavior and these directors, no matter who you are need to understand that you need to be licensed and your parlor needs to be licensed and you should not do this because you are collecting money to ensure that a proper burial takes place for anyone who dies,” Lt. Walker said.
 

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