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Funeral home won't be cited in error over body

Evins Funeral Home will not be cited after a grieving family claimed the mortuary held hostage the remains of a woman sent there by mistake.

"We closed (the inquiry) on insufficient evidence," California Department of Consumer Affairs spokesman Kevin Flanagan said this week. "We just weren't able to substantiate the allegation."

Family members had told The Bee in September that they meant to send the body of 75-year-old Mildred "Millie" Myers of Ceres to another funeral home. When they discovered the error, they said, Charles Evins II demanded $585 before releasing the body.

Evins, who is senior pastor at New Bethany Missionary Baptist Church, vehemently denied the claim from the start. By state law, such charges are legal but cannot be required before transferring remains to a competitor.

Flanagan said Monday that "our inspector talked to him and the family, they disagreed on what happened and it became a he-said, she-said situation. (The case) was closed without a citation."

Evins said he was summoned to a council of local pastors last fall and confronted with the allegations printed in The Bee.

"It was really a difficult situation, especially when you know for a fact you did nothing wrong," Evins said. "I believe right will always prevail. In this case, it has."

Bee staff writer Garth Stapley can be reached at 578-2390 or gstapley@modbee.com.

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