Body found inside abandoned Flint funeral home belonged to a scrapper, building owner says

‘He had no business being in my facility,’ funeral home owner says

click to enlarge The Swanson Funeral Home in Flint was forced to close in 2017. - Harley.Q.Urbex
The Swanson Funeral Home in Flint was forced to close in 2017.

A man whose body was found inside an abandoned funeral home in Flint died while trying to steal scrap metal, according to the owner of the building.

Three urban explorers found the man crushed beneath a hydraulic coffin lift in the basement of Swanson Funeral Home at 2210 Martin Luther King Ave. earlier this month.

O’Neil D. Swanson II, owner of the funeral home, tells Metro Times that the man “was crushed because he cut a cable” to steal metal wire from the building, causing the lift to fall on top of him.

“It’s unfortunate that this happened,” Swanson says. “But he had no business being in my facility.”

The funeral home was forced to close in 2017 after state inspectors allege they found unrefrigerated human bodies, maggots, blood-stained casket pillows, and an unsanitary preparation room.

Swanson disputes the allegations and says he plans to rehabilitate the funeral home with the goal of reopening. He says the state's claims of unrefrigerated remains and were unsubstantiated and that what appeared to be blood on a pillow was actually embalming fluid.

"We didn't have a bunch of decomposing bodies inside of our facility when the state came in," he says. "They absolutely were not decomposing. They were absolutely unrefrigerated, but waiting to be processed."

Swanson also says he’s been talking to the Genesee County Prosecutor’s Office about charging the urban explorers with trespassing.

click to enlarge A dead body was found inside the Swanson Funeral Home in Flint. - Harley.Q.Urbex
A dead body was found inside the Swanson Funeral Home in Flint.

“They’re trespassers, they broke into my funeral home, and they had no business being on my property,” Swanson says.

The urban explorers say the back door was open, and they never damaged anything.

In January 2020, urban explorers found what appeared to be cremated remains in the funeral home.

When the funeral home closed its doors, it left behind supplies and a hearse in the garage.

Since then, trespassers have stolen scrap metal and sprayed the hearse with graffiti.

"Unfortunately, criminals and thieves have come into that building, and they destroyed the electrical system, destroyed the plumbing system, took out wire took out, copper piping,” Swanson says.

Stay connected with Detroit Metro Times. Subscribe to our newsletters, and follow us on Google News, Apple News, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, or TikTok.

About The Author

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling is an award-winning investigative journalist who operated Motor City Muckraker, an online news site devoted to exposing abuses of power and holding public officials accountable. Neavling also hosted Muckraker Report on 910AM from September 2017 to July 2018. Before launching Motor City Muckraker,...
Scroll to read more Michigan News articles


Join Detroit Metro Times Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.