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Alameda Coroner’s Bureau works to return human remains to cremation service customers

The neon sign that marked the Alameda County Coroner's Bureau at its old location near Jack London Square. The sign simply reads "Coroner's Bureau"
Todd Lappin
Flickr / Creative Commons
The neon sign that marked the Alameda County Coroner's Bureau at its old location near Jack London Square

Oceanview Cremations performed funeral services for Bay Area residents between 2011 and 2022, and they had a business license for a majority of that time.

The California Secretary of State’s Business Programs Division shows that Oceanview Cremations’ business license lapsed in 2018. But it continued to operate — and rack up customer complaints.

While the cremation service and its funeral director Robert Smith received some praise on Yelp, the negative reviews stand out for their horrifying allegations.

Customers complained that the bodies of their loved ones waited for months to be cremated and that Robert Smith ignored them, lied to them, and failed to secure death certificates in a timely manner.

In 2022, Oceanview Cremations’ funeral establishment license lapsed for about a month. At some point, it began to store human remains in an unauthorized warehouse separate from their facilities.

The Alameda County Coroner’s Bureau recovered the remains from the Hayward warehouse on March 1. Authorities found six bodies and the cremated remains of 154 others.

The bureau has identified five of the bodies, but it needs help identifying the other one. While the cremated remains were marked, the Bureau also requests assistance in reaching the families of the deceased.

Anyone who did business with Oceanview Cremations, between 2013 and 2021, is encouraged to reach out to the coroner’s bureau.

Andrew is a scientist and communicator who wants to make scientific research accessible to everyone and to ensure that science is discussed accurately and responsibly.