6:13 PM
Harold Warren Sr. (above)
A Boone County grand jury handed up a three count indictment yesterday (09-25-09) against a former Missouri funeral home director accused of keeping rotting bodies in the basement of the family funeral home.

Harold Warren Sr., 77, is accused of three felony counts of unlawful merchandising practices. The indictments allege that Warren Sr. knowingly gave families cremated remains that were not the ashes of their family members.

Prosecutors allege the crimes occurred between February and July 2008.Warren’s attorney, Dan Viets, told the Columbia Daily Tribune that his client will respond to the charges in court on Octobober 5th.

The 77-year-old Warren and his son, Harold Warren Jr., operated Warren Funeral Chapel Inc., which operated funeral homes in Fulton and Columbia.

Authorities ordered the business to close in July 2008 after a woman’s body was found stored in an electrical room for 10 months without being embalmed or refrigerated.

During the investigation, several more decaying bodies were found in the funeral homes. In July of this year, the Missouri Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors revoked the father and son's licenses to practice as funeral directors and embalmers.

Since then, Warren Sr. has worked for Reid Millard, who purchased the Warren's funeral homes and hired him as a funeral assistant. The elder Warren has been seen assisting in a funeral service at at least one Columbia funeral and consoling the family of the deceased.

In one of the mishandled cases Vanae Scott, the mother of Tasha Loggins who died in May of 2008 was given an urn said to hold her daughters ashes. Scott said she paid the Warrens in full and kept the ashes until her daughter’s decaying body was among several found unrefrigerated in the basement of the Warren chapel.

In another case, Warren gave cremated remains to the family of Dorenda Versey, who died at the age 86 in 2007. Nearly a year after her death, investigators found her body in the Warren chapel basement, embalmed but not cremated.

According to the Columbia Daily Tribune, sources say Warren admitted he lied about cremating the elderly woman's body but refused to release the her cremains because the Versey family owed him money.