Over a hundred cremated remains have yet to be reunited with families following a bizarre investigation into a suspended Hayward cremation business that may have continued to operate.
“The damage and the toll that it’s taken to our family, like I said is just unmeasurable,” said Rahsaan Robinson.
For Robinson, he said his nightmare started in November of 2021, when his father was killed in the city of Oakland.
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Robinson said by December 2021, he thought he had found a business that would help his family mourn and say goodbye to Lawrence Sterling Robinson, someone he called a pillar in the community of Richmond.
“He was going to cremate my father and mail my father's remains to me. He got my address information, he got my credit card information, he billed my credit card and told me everything was going to be fine,” he said.
But the weeks went by, it was the end of January 2022, Robinson said that his calls and text messages to the owner of Ocean View Crematory in Hayward were ignored.
So, they held a funeral without his father’s remains and they called police.
“The Oakland Police Department informed my sister that approximately 17 other families had already filed similar claims against this individual,” Robinson said.
Not only was it hard to get a hold of the business, Robinson told NBC Bay Area that he couldn't find the crematory, the address on his receipt didn’t match.
It was July 2022, when Robinson finally found his father and the business.
“I walk into the gentleman’s office and there's at least 10 other boxes of remains sitting on his desk. He's sitting there smoking a cigar, he's extremely cavalier about the situation like disrespectfully so,” he said.
Robinson later learned there that was no death certificate and added the county records office had no connection with the business.
Nearly a year later, there was a massive investigation.
The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office said that six bodies and 154 cremated remains—dated back to 2013—were found in a warehouse linked to Oceanview Cremations.
So far, only 15 families have been connected to the cremated remains.
Five bodies have been identified—the sixth has a tentative identification.
The Hayward business was suspended in 2022 and the corporation license was suspended in 2018.
“I was just trying to do right by my dad, you know what I’m saying. And I know there's a lot of families out there trying to do right by their family and I just hope that he gets some justice,” Robinson said.
The future of this case is now in the hands of the state.