Former Lake County coroner faces four felony counts of abuse of a corpse.
The embattled Lake County coroner, who resigned late last month, now faces four felony counts of abuse of a corpse.
Several funeral homes and crematories owned by Shannon Kent were shut down late last year after authorities, in October, found an unrefrigerated body, bags of unlabeled cremains and an abandoned stillborn infant at his funeral homes in Leadville and Gypsum, according to court documents.
On Wednesday, the Lake County District Attorney’s Office filed four felony charges of abuse of a corpse against Kent and one misdemeanor count of the same charge, said District Attorney Heidi McCollum. Additional charges against Kent include unlawful acts of cremation, first-degree official misconduct, unlawful acts of a mortuary and false information on a vital statistics certificate, all misdemeanors.
Kent owned and operated Bailey-Kent Funeral Home in Leadville; Everett Family Funeral Home and Crematory in Gypsum; Hegmann Funeral Service in Idaho Springs; and Runyan-Kent Mortuary in Fairplay.
Investigators allege at least one instance in which a family received cremains for their stillborn child mixed with bits of adult body parts and metal fragments.
Authorities were attempting to serve Kent by summons on Wednesday with the charges.
In February, Kent and his wife, Staci Kent, were arrested in Leadville on charges of tampering with a decease body. Kent resigned as the Lake County coroner in April.
The new charges allege that between Dec. 10, 2019, and March 31 Kent “unlawfully treated the body of an infant in a way that would outrage normal family sensibilities” in violation of Colorado law. He is also charged with treating “the body or remains of any person, John Doe-Exhumed, in a way that would outrage normal family sensibilities,” according to Wednesday’s complaint filing in district court.
Kent also, within the same time frame, allegedly and “unlawfully refused to properly and promptly release human remains to the custody of a person who had the legal right to effect the release, whether or not any costs have been paid,” according to the unlawful acts cremation charge filed against him.
Kent faces a total of 14 counts filed against him on Wednesday, according to the complaint.
The court filing claims that all the offenses are “against the peace and dignity of the people of the State of Colorado.”
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