Bakersfield mans ashes go missing after passing away in 2004

Investigation shows more missing loved ones

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -  

A family has been waiting for just about a decade to get closure after the passing of their loved one. 

Sharon Rowell's Uncle William banning was a military veteran and passed away in 2004. 

The family had Davis-Rose Funeral Home take care of the services. But they say they are still looking for him. 

His ashes have been missing since 2004 when the funeral home took them and told the family they would wait for the Bakersfield National Cemetery to open. 

Rowell's told 23ABC there was a new veterans cemetery opening here and Davis-Rose told the family they would hold on to him and promised he would be buried there. 

After a few years of checking the cemetery with no sign of her uncle, Rowell's knew something was wrong. 

Davis-Rose Funeral Home sold the business to Bakersfield Funeral Home more than a year ago and the new owners had no idea of the potential fraud they inherited. 

Rowell contacted the State Bureau who started an investigation over the missing remains and was told other families also had missing loved ones. 

"Five other families that don't have their loved ones and we still don't know where uncle is at," Rowell added. 

But, that is not all. She also prepaid $395 for her and her husband’s cremation through Davis-Rose. 

When the new owner found out he was concerned. 

Simon Lee, owner of The Bakersfield Funeral Home told 23ABC that the funeral home was supposed to put the money into a trust account.

"The trust account was cashed out by Doctor Davis," Lee added. 

After 23ABC contacted the State Agency who oversees funeral homes to check on the missing ashes it was discovered that many other families are also potential victims by making prearrangements for their funeral services. 

Lee said there are about 70 victims that he has identified so far who prepaid for services. 

He plans to honor their contracts as BPD and the State investigate the Davis-Rose Funeral Home. 

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