A pastor in Stockton, California, started a side-hustle as a ‘funeral home director.’ Unfortunately, the facility was not equipped for handling the remains of the deceased, and authorities have discovered unrefrigerated, rotting remains of corpses strewn throughout the facility grounds.
Concerns were raised after a deceased individual failed to make his own funeral, after the church misplaced his remains. Eleven days after his supposed cremation, the family was upset to discover that their father’s remains were yet to be cremated. When investigators went to discover the problem, they were horrified at what they found.
Carla Southerland’s dad, Robert Oliveira, had died in the hospital and the hospital gave the daughter a list of funeral homes to choose from and she chose the Jesse E. Cooley Jr. Funeral Service. It was located at Boggs Tract Church in Stockton.
“The only way I identified where I was going…they had hearses out front,” Southerland recalled.
After nearly two weeks, his remains were absent from the memorial service planned to remember him.
Southerland reportedly told the press, “I was like, Oh my God. How do you tell somebody ‘I’m sorry he didn’t make it here?”
The family received a folder with the name of ‘Jesse E. Cooley Funeral Service,’ along with their phone number and state license. Later it was discovered that the funeral home, originally located on North California Street in Stockton, closed in August of 2018 and is now operating under a new name.
An investigator with the State Funeral and Cemetary regulatory commission had already begun to investigate the ‘funeral home’ stating, “Citations we examined used the words, “unlicensed activity”, “fraudulently”, “mislead”, “gross negligence”, “reckless”, “careless”, and “incompetence.”
According to CBS13 in Sacramento, “An investigator found multiple decedents in an unsecured and unrefrigerated room. In one case, records show remains were in a condition that prevented a family from having a viewing service.”
In other words, they were well-beyond rotting.
Also according to CBS13, “State records also show the discovery of cremated remains in paper bags and urns stacked up on top of each other in an offsite U-Haul storage facility.”
After the original mortuary location in Vallejo was shut down for violations, Cooley (the funeral home director) moved the bodies to the church location.
Cooley then moved dozens of corpses over to the church where he’s a pastor. He also claims that there was originally a refrigerator in the back of the church that could handle the dead bodies. However, Cooley claims that having to care for his ailing wife led to him misplacing and mismanaging the corpses.
Cooley has been fined by the state but plans on continuing to use the church as his mortuary, in spite of admitting he doesn’t have the refrigerator space to handle the bodies.
Boggs Tract Church is a “Full Gospel Church,” which is a Pentecostal Church originally a part of the Christian and Missionary Alliance (CMA), but split after taking a significantly more charismatic doctrine.