Ypsilanti Twp. crematorium owner charged with improper body disposal

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

The owner of a Ypsilanti Township crematorium with a revoked license has been charged with improper handling of dead bodies, a state officials said Tuesday. 

O'Neil Swanson II, owner of the Tri-County Crematorium, has been formally charged with improper disposal of dead bodies, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said in a statement. She also said he is charged as a second habitual offender.

Swanson was arraigned Monday on the charges in 14-A District Court in Ypsilanti Township. A judge set his bond at $5,000 and scheduled a probable cause conference for Oct. 14. 

If convicted, Swanson faces up to 10 years in prison or a $50,0000 fine or both.

Officials for Nessel's office said they became involved with an investigation into Swanson's business over the summer following action from the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.  

In June, the agency issued a cease and desist order against Swanson and his business after investigators learned it wasn't registered with the state.

State officials began investigating the business after getting tips heavy smoke was coming from the crematory chimney, deceased individuals were awaiting cremation and not being properly stored, and bodily fluids were leaking onto the facility's floor.

This isn't Swanson's first time in hot water. In 2019, he was convicted of conversion of funds under the Prepaid Funeral and Cemetery Sales Act, according to the state licensing and regulatory affairs department.

The year before that, the state revoked his mortuary science license and the mortuary science establishment license held by Swanson's Funeral Home Inc. in Flint due to occupational health and safety violations. 

Nessel said her office continues to investigate Swanson and his associates.

"The allegations against Mr. Swanson are incredibly disturbing, and my heart breaks for those who trusted him to care for their deceased loved ones," Nessel said. "We are committed to ensuring there is criminal accountability in this case."

cramirez@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @CharlesERamirez