Funeral Director Going To Jail For Cremation Cover-Up

WAUKEGAN (CBS) – A funeral director accused of giving bereaved families the wrong cremated remains has pleaded guilty in a cover-up of the fraud and is expected to spend months behind bars.

Marcee Dane, 32, of Libertyville pleaded guilty to desecration of human remains, a violation of the Cemetery Protection Act and a Class 3 felony, a release from the Lake County State’s Attorney’s office said.

Prosecutors said Dane tried to cover up a mix-up involving a family’s ashes by first lying to the family, then getting another person’s remains and sending the family those remains to cover the mistake.

Dane even went so far as to exhume cremains and remove an identification tag in case either family discovered the error and chose to exhume the cremains, authorities said.

On Thursday, Dane was sentenced to six months in the Lake County Jail, with the first 30 days to be served immediately, the release said. The remaining five months will be served as periodic imprisonment to be monitored by the Lake County Sheriff’s office.

The mixup began in May 2010 when the Burnett-Dane Funeral home inadvertently switched the cremated remains of two unrelated people, whose families had used the funeral home.

Burnett-Dane buried the cremains of one person in the other’s family plot in a cemetery in Des Plaines, the release said. The funeral home then compounded the mistake by giving the cremains — which should have been buried in the cemetery — to the other family. That family spread what they believed to be their loved one’s cremains over a Wisconsin lake.

But before the family spread the ashes, they became suspicious that they might have had the wrong cremains and contacted Dane by phone, the release said. Dane assured them they had the right cremains, which led to their eventual spreading.

Meanwhile, Dane attempted to cover up the mix-up by obtaining the cremains of someone from a crematory in Lake Bluff.

She mailed that person’s cremains to the family in Wisconsin, telling them the ashes were their loved one’s correct ashes. Dane then unearthed the cremains from the Des Plaines cemetery and removed the ID tag, the release said.

As a condition of her sentence, Dane will surrender her Funeral Director’s License and forfeit her right to practice as a professional in the death care industry, the release said. She will not be allowed to work at the family business or be on the property for any reason during her probationary period.

Dane must also pay a fine of $10,000 to be applied toward Crime Stoppers of Lake and Cook counties, the release said. She has no prior criminal convictions. 

Contributing: Sun-Times Media Wire

  • Tutti

    I’m gonna try this again, “Hum” Dust to Dust, Maybe they had the right ash’s they sould have did a D.N.A.

  • Just the Average Joe

    These people are paid a lot of money to properly handle the remain of our loved ones, and we expect them to be handled correctly. She made a mistake, and tried to hide it, and caused even more pain.

    • Jimbo

      Joe, I think she needs a spanking……….

    • diane

      Hey I know this person and the facts that the media came out with are grossly misrepresented. What took place is not what they stated.
      She is a wonderful, caring individual that would not ever set out to hurt someone. She tried to rectify it with the first family who told her they didn’t care and buried the person anyways. When she went to the second family and told them they flipped out. That is when she tried to set things straight.
      Before you judge someone get all the facts.

  • odd

    strange…her brother is in jail as well. maybe there is something fishy going on with that family!!

    • Me

      Where does it say in the article that her brother is in jail?

  • tim

    Wheres my comment?

  • tim

    As I said before people need to know when they cremate they have 2-3 bodies at the same time so people are not guaranteed to get the ashes of their loved ones but other as well. And Im just stating that, it does not change the fact what she did was clearly wrong.

    • Jim

      It is against the law to cremate more than one body at a time. Get your facts straight.

  • not saying jus sayin

    Funeral Director Going To Jail For Cremation Cover-Up

    Does the “Smirk” on her booking photo not say it ALL !!!!???

    Classic !

    • Jimbo

      Maybe it’s just gas……..

  • Hot cakes

    She is totally HOT!!!

    • Jimbo

      so were the people she cremated……..:)

    • Larryhorse713

      I’ve gotta admit, she is hot.

  • citizenkane2

    I’d hit it

    • Jimbo


  • Marty Cantu

    Why is she smiling like this is a drivers license photo? Your going to JAIL whats up with that?

    • Jimbo

      She’s blond silly……….

  • we pay a lot of money

    She’s not smiling…If you look closley you’ll notice she has no upper lip…LOL Just Kidding. She is probably thinking about all the other horrific things she has done and gotten away with, so this probably isnt that bad in her mind??? just a thought?

    • Jimbo

      I’t’s the way I deal with despair’ Katherine Hepburn as Eleanor of Aquitane in The Lion in Winter…….

  • tim

    Jim? Have you ever had anyone cremated? A friend of my dads had his mom cremated they have a “waiver that clearly states “They cannot guarantee” all the ashes will be of their loved ones. “Smartmouth!!

  • No Name

    Hey…some of you shouldn’t talk about someone you don’t even know! She is my best friend and you don’t know the whole real story. First of all the family was notified by her that the remains they have aren’t the correct ones and that they shouldn’t spread those ashed until she called them back that day to confirm 100% that those were the correct ones or weren’t. They decided to spread them anyway…so really who is at fault as well? They are! She is a good person and was looking out for those families. She put them first before herself.

    • Suspicious

      Where does it say her brother is in Jail?

      Ms. No Name, do you think your best friend lied to you as well as she did to the two Families?

    • wither(something)fan

      Bannana Peel, Brian?

  • bob

    Why does the county get the 10k? Shouldn’t the family that got shafted get it?

  • Cat Lover

    The crematory in Lake Bluff just gave her someother person’s ashes, are you kidding? Why isn’t that person arrested. They can’t be trusted either.

    • Diane

      I agree with you Cat Lover. The crematory is the one that is at fault first and foremost

  • A.P.

    I also know this family & her brother is NOT in jail!! The are all very caring people & I wouldn’t trust anyone but them to help me & my family! And Ms. Suspicious, you don’t know her at all, she is not a liar, you can trust that girl with everything you have! The news never gives the whole story you should all know that by now. They only print what they want. She is a great person that would never hurt anyone on purpose, especially when it comes to your loved ones. She is more dedicated to her job than anyone I have ever known!

blog comments powered by Disqus
Daily Weather Reports Delivered To You!SIGN UP NOW: Get daily weather reports every morning from meteorologist Steve Baskerville!
CBS Sports Radio RoundupGet your latest sports talk from across the country.

Listen Live