President John Moles’ Statements About Medical Examiner’s Office

Funeral home states Medical Examiner’s Office responsible for proper care of ME cases

John Moles is president of Moles Farewell Tributes & Crematory Center in Bellingham.

“Reports about the mishandling of decedents under the care of the Whatcom County Medical Examiner’s Office are grossly incomplete and unfairly tarnish the reputation of our funeral home. When Whatcom County was in a difficult situation seeking a temporary Medical Examiner’s Office facility last year, we provided the county use of our preparation room for autopsies, plus office space and a space to place a storage cooler for decedents. We were acting as a landlord and couldn’t move decedents without a request from the Medical Examiner’s Office, which has a legal responsibility for the decedents.

“We offered to transport their decedents to our refrigerated space at Greenacres Memorial Park near Ferndale only upon the request of the Medical Examiner’s Office and when we had staff available or were already heading there. We didn’t receive a request on Friday, May 10.

“On May 10, we told the Medical Examiner’s Office that it needed to make arrangements for decedents under its care. They told us that funeral homes were coming to pick up the decedents later that day. When we returned to work Monday, May 13, we discovered that no one had picked up the decedents. It was the sole responsibility of the Medical Examiner’s Office to make arrangements for the proper handling of those decedents. It’s understandable why families are distraught over this situation and we are heartbroken over this mismanagement and negligence by the Medical Examiner’s Office.”