A cremationist in Bisbee is a cremationist no more -- the state board that oversees the funeral industry revoked his license to cremate remains after the chilling discovery of two open pits filled with thousands of human bones was found on the property of a cemetery he owns last month.
The Arizona Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers suspended the license of Paul Parker, the owner of Memory Gardens Cemetery, after he admitted to taking bones meant for cremation and dumping them in two, large, open pits.
The bones were discovered last month by a couple looking for a relative's grave. When they got to the grave, they discovered the headstone had been moved to an area behind some brush. When they found the headstone, they also made the gruesome discovery.
The pits contained skulls, ribs, femurs, and other pieces of bone Parker was supposed to cremate for a Tucson medical research facility -- only he didn't. He just dumped the bones into pits to -- as he admits -- save money.
The revocation of Parker's license is about as severe a penalty as he'll probably face. Shockingly, the Bisbee Police Department found that nothing he was doing violated any laws.
At the time of the discovery, a Bisbee police officer told KGUN "we looked into the avenues of any crime here. We don't find anything criminally wrong with what he's doing."
The board didn't just revoke Parker's license, it suspended the license of the crematory for 60 days on the condition that Parker fix several infractions. We're assuming get rid of the open bone pits is on that list of SNAFUs.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.