Death certificate discovery: Local funeral homes may have used Sunset Mesa

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT)-- From allegations of selling body parts without permission, to mixing and possibly handing out fake ashes, Sunset Mesa Funeral Homes is back in the news, but now, the story travels far beyond their physical address in Montrose to right here in Grand Junction.

A Montrose woman called KKCO 11 News and says she used a funeral home in Grand Junction back in 2013. After looking into it, it appears that funeral home did use Sunset Mesa to do their cremations.

There are several funeral homes in town and most of them use another business for cremation services.

The woman we spoke with, who wished to remain anonymous, has a warning for residents. She says if you think you may be a victim, check out item 20B on the death certificate. That's where you'll find out where the body was cremated.

"We are not really sure, we were kind of in shock,” said the Montrose resident.

She says she used the Legacy Funeral Home on Horizon Drive in Grand Junction for her father in law back in 2013.

"We found his death certificate going through some stuff last week and we discovered that on there it says place of cremation Sunset Mesa," said the woman from Montrose.

The owner of Legacy, Jerry Hubbard admits they used Sunset Mesa. "That's where he was cremated. That's correct,” said Jerry Hubbard.

"My concern is for other residents of Grand Junction would have used Legacy that they may be victims of this and have no idea,” said the Montrose resident.

However, Hubbard says, they only used Sunset Mesa that year back in 2013.

"She [Megan Hess] seemed like she was legitimate. I wasn't really too concerned until certain things just didn't start adding up, like her doctorate degree in mortuary science, which doesn't exist, and then other things started coming up," said Hubbard. "And then we started finding out about the donations of body parts and selling of body parts and this wasn't for live donations this was for different reasons and I just thought that practice was unethical to be operated out of mortuary.”

His interaction with Megan Hess doesn't end there.

"My attorney also filed a cease and desist against Megan Hess because at one point, she had business cards and brochures that said she owned Legacy Funeral Home, she claimed that she owned my business,” said Hubbard.

It’s raising new questions for residents, even if they didn't directly use Sunset Mesa.

"Do we have my father in law or not?” said the Montrose resident.

"People entrust one of the most precious moments of their lives to us so we need handle it with the highest level of dignity and respect and diligence,” said Hubbard.

KKCO 11 News got a copy of a letter from the FBI addressed to one of the victims we’ve been in contact with. It’s the first official document that outlines ‘victims of a crime’.

In the letter, the FBI officially says Sunset Mesa sold body parts, allegedly without notifying family. Once again, we want to stress the importance of checking your death certificates.

Jerry Hubbard says he'll be working with the Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce on getting stricter licensing laws for funeral directors.

Only a handful of states require funeral directors to be licensed. Colorado is not one of them.



 
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