Alameda County Coroner's Bureau trying to identify remains of 155 people from all over Bay Area

Discovery made in Hayward warehouse tied to cremation service company unlicensed for years

Source: Palo Alto Online
By: Tony Hicks / Bay City News Service
March 14, 2023

The Alameda County Coroner’s Bureau needs help identifying one body and the cremated remains of 154 other people recently found in a Hayward warehouse.

Five other bodies found in the space have already been identified.

Authorities believe the remains were put in the warehouse between 2013 and 2021 by Oceanview Cremations, which has had its license suspended since March 2018, the coroner’s bureau said in a statement.

Oceanview Cremations was prohibited from storing remains on its premises. Nevertheless, it continued operations and kept remains in the warehouse, which was also prohibited.

The coroner’s bureau and county-contracted Grissom’s Mortuary recovered the remains March 1. Officials identified five bodies and contacted families, advising them of the investigation.

Family members said calls to Oceanview Cremations’ owner, Robert Smith, went unanswered. Many believed their loved ones were cremated or scattered at sea as requested.

No information was available on the unidentified body, though the coroner’s office said they came to the funeral home between 2020 and 2021.

Five of the deceased bodies came from Alameda County and the sixth from Sonoma County. The coroner’s office took possession of two of the deceased, Grissom’s Mortuary took four decedents and the cremated remains.

Grissom’s Mortuary has since sorted and alphabetized the cremated remains:

  • 64 are from Alameda County
  • 23 are from San Francisco
  • 15 from San Mateo County
  • 10 from Contra Costa County
  • 9 from Santa Clara County
  • 1 from Fresno County
  • 9 from Marin County
  • 2 from Napa County
  • 1 from Placer County
  • 1 from Sacramento County
  • 2 from Stanislaus County
  • 3 from San Joaquin County
  • 4 from Santa Cruz County
  • 2 from Solano County
  • 8 from Sonoma County.

Officials say people who did business with Oceanview Cremations with final arrangements for a loved one between 2013 and 2022 and are uncertain of their remains should contact the Alameda County Coroner’s Bureau at 510-382-3000.