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Lake County coroner forced out of funeral home business

Lake County coroner Shannon Kent agreed to the stipulation on Tuesday following a FOX31 Problem Solvers investigation Nov. 5

A scene outside of Leadville in Lake County. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)

LEADVILLE — An elected county coroner in central Colorado has signed an order with the state forcing him to no longer own and operate his six funeral home businesses located in several different mountain towns across the state.

Lake County coroner Shannon Kent agreed to the stipulation on Tuesday following a FOX31 Problem Solvers investigation Nov. 5 that highlighted potential ethical and criminal allegations against him, KDVR-TV reported.

Kent can no longer participate in the funeral or cremation business in Colorado, officials said. His agreement to cease all funeral home operations does not stop him from continuing to serve as the Lake County coroner.

The state stipulation references the cremains of a stillborn child that “were found to contain elements of a perinatal human infant, bone fragments of an older/larger individual and metal.”

A grand jury indicted Kent in September 2019 for misconduct after he was accused of allowing his wife to act as a deputy coroner without any prior certification.

Deputies discovered through a search warrant in October that his funeral home in Leadville was in unsanitary condition. Deputies also found a decedent who was not properly refrigerated, unlabeled cremains, and improperly wrapped bodies in refrigeration without identifying paperwork.

Kent was elected as a Democrat to be Lake County coroner in 2014 and reelected in 2018.

The Lake County coroner’s office declined to provide further comment when called by The Associated Press.