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Tue May 18, 2021, 12:41 AM

Funeral board warns consulates against unlicensed Tennessee funeral director as more bodies go

Tennessee officials this week cautioned the Mexican and Guatemalan consulates in Atlanta against doing business with an ex-funeral director and embalmer who lost his licenses more than a year ago for failing to send bodies of deceased immigrants overseas for burial.

Reid Van Ness, the former embalmer and funeral director, surrendered his licenses in March 2020 after state officials found that at least ten bodies he promised to send to Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala were instead left to decay at three Middle Tennessee funeral homes for up to 11 months, the Tennessee Lookout reported in February.

A subsequent Lookout investigation found that Van Ness continued to provide his services after losing his license, including to the family of Ramon Lara Castillo. The body of the 63-year-old house painter who died of liver cancer in October is still missing. His roommates paid Van Ness $1,800 to ship the remains to Mexico last year, months after his license was revoked. A complaint about his missing body was filed with the state in April.

Yet another body entrusted to Van Ness for embalming and transportation overseas before he lost his license is also missing, a complaint to the state just last month shows.

Read more: https://tennesseelookout.com/2021/05/13/funeral-board-warns-foreign-consulates-against-unlicensed-tennessee-funeral-director-as-more-bodies-go-missing/

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