DENVER (CBS4) – Lake County Coroner Shannon Kent was permanently stripped of his ability to legally conduct cremation or funeral home services in the state, the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies announced Tuesday.
The ban takes effect immediately.
Kent owned in whole or in part crematories and funeral homes in Leadville, Gypsum, Silverthorne, Buena Vista, and Idaho Springs while doubling as the publicly elected coroner of Lake County. He still retains that office.
Kent’s license to operate two of the Western Slope businesses were suspended by the state in October after Lake County authorities conducted an unannounced visit on his home-based funeral home in Leadville.
In the basement of the Kent family residence, investigators found an unrefrigerated body, mounds of used medical gloves and body bags, and tilting stacks of paperwork.
Lake County Sheriff Amy Reyes described losing her footing due to pools of body fluid on the floor. She and a sergeant cut the initial foray through the basement short due to the smell of decay and concerns for their health.
“I was beginning to feel sick, weak, light-headed,” Sheriff Reyes wrote in a report. “I ended the search.”
Reyes included hand-written notes next to photos taken during the investigation.
The visit was part of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office investigation into alleged improper documentation and suspicious elements in a set of cremated remains. An unidentified woman filed a complaint with the department in February regarding the mishandling of a child’s remains. Testing revealed the infant’s cremated remains contained a mixture of metal and the body of an adult.
No criminal charges were filed as a result of the investigation.
The affected businesses are Bailey-Kent Funeral Home in Leadville, the Everett Family Funeral Home and Crematory (also doing business as Kent Funeral Home) in Gypsum, Runyan Mortuary in Buena Vista, Runyan-Kent Mortuary in Silverthorne, and Hegmann Funeral Service, Inc. (dba Hegmann-Kent) in Idaho Springs.
Kent was elected Lake County Coroner in 2014 and re-elected in 2018.
Kent came under scrutiny in a separate case in March 2019. He was indicted for using his wife as a deputy coroner despite a her lack of certification.