Theft of dental gold among allegations against owner, employees at Utah mortuary

SALT LAKE CITY -- Criminal charges have been filed against the owner and three employees at Carvers Mortuary after employees allegedly stole valuables from the deceased.

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said each are facing seven to 20 charges, ranging from unlicensed employees cremating remains to stealing gold from bodies.

Robert Price, a former employee, spoke to Fox 13 about the allegations of wrongdoing.

“They were doing some pretty horrific things with their operations at Carver Mortuary Services,” Price said.

Price is one of the former employees who came forward last November, accusing the mortuary of breaking a long list of rules.

“It's your worst nightmare,” Price said. “You wonder, 'Oh my hell, was that one of my loved ones?'"

Accusations range from keeping bodies outside the refrigeration room, to cremating remains without a license, and taking personal property from bodies.

“The way some of these bodies were treated was horrific,” Price said.

After a lengthy investigation, the DA’s Office filed charges against the owner, Tanner Carver, and three employees: Shane Westmoreland, Michael Jones and Beau Hintze.

Charging documents say that hundreds of "unidentified bodies were disposed of without proper licensing..."

And that they, "cremated remains with no means attached to identify them."

And they would also, "cremate 'fetal demise' bodies with adults as a general practice to economize time and room in the mortuary."

Documents also say one employee stole gold from the deceased’s teeth.

“We have an individual, it's alleged, that was removing dental gold from bodies and was pawning it off, and one of the pawn shops actually took photographs of some of those that looked like crowns that have been removed,” Gill said.

Former Carver employees, like Price, are grateful to see these charges filed.

“I think justice has been served finally, and I hope that they learned their lesson,” he said.

Carvers was closed for some time but is back open after they paid a $10,000 fine. They will be under probation for five years.