HAYWARD, Calif. (KRON) — Six bodies and 154 cremated remains were found in a Hayward warehouse on March 1. The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO) said that the remains are linked to Oceanview Cremations, which was a crematorium that had its business license suspended.
Oceanview Cremations’ license was suspended in March 2018, and it was prohibited from storing remains on its premises. The California Cemetary and Funeral Board informed the Alameda County Coroner’s Bureau on Feb. 28 that the business was continuing its operations.
A day later, the bureau went to the warehouse and recovered the remains. Five of the bodies were identified. One was not identified because the owner of Oceanview Cremations, Robert Smith, did not produce “viable information” about the location of death or next of kin, per ACSO.
Authorities contacted the families of the people whose bodies were discovered, and the families said that their calls to Smith went unanswered. The families assumed that the remains had been cremated or scattered at sea as requested.
A Yelp page exists for Oceanview Cremations, and it is littered with poor reviews. One person posted that Smith took her money and did not respond to more than 100 emails and daily phone calls. The woman claims that when Smith finally got back to her seven months later, he blamed his lack of response on contracting COVID-19.
“If you are crazy enough to support this business be ready to be angry, confused, gaslit, and lied to, also make sure you research the other reviews,” the poster said.
“Under no circumstances put your family through the torture of working with this organization. Death is hard enough on us, but stringing families along and operating without a license is too far,” another post said.
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All of the bodies were taken in by the funeral home in 2020 and 2021. The coroner’s bureau took possession of two of the bodies, and a county-contracted funeral home took the other four and the 154 cremated remains.
The funeral home sorted the cremated remains and determined that they are from these counties:
- Alameda County (64)
- San Francisco County (23)
- San Mateo County (15)
- Contra Costa County (10)
- Santa Clara County (9)
- Marin County (9)
- Sonoma County (8)
- Santa Cruz County (4)
- San Joaquin County (3)
- Solano County (2)
- Napa County (2)
- Stanislaus County (2)
- Fresno County (1)
- Sacramento County (1)
- Placer County (1)
Anyone who went to Oceanview Cremations between 2013 and 2022 and is uncertain about the whereabouts of the remains is asked to call the coroner’s bureau at (510) 382-3000.