VAIL – An elected coroner in Colorado is stepping down after being charged with tampering with a body and losing his licenses to run a chain of funeral homes.
Shannon Kent submitted his resignation Friday, and it was accepted by Lake County commissioners at a meeting Monday, the Vail Daily reported. It will take effect either when his replacement is found or on Aug. 1.
Kent and his wife, Staci Kent, were charged in February with tampering with a deceased body over allegations they left a body for several months in a Silverthorne mortuary they used to own.
Under an agreement with state regulators in December, Shannon Kent agreed to close his funeral home businesses and never work again in the funeral home or cremation business in Colorado.
The deal came after law enforcement searched one of Kent’s funeral homes in Leadville, saying they found unsanitary conditions, numerous bags of unlabeled cremains, several bodies without identifying tags or paperwork, and an unmarked casket containing a stillborn infant that Kent told police had been “abandoned.”
Kent also is charged with official misconduct and perjury after authorities said he allowed his wife to act as deputy coroner without proper authorizations and then knowingly made false statements to a grand jury about that arrangement. Staci Kent also has been charged with perjury and forgery.
John Scott, a lawyer for Shannon Kent, declined to comment Tuesday.
Staci Kent is represented by a lawyer from the public defender’s office, which bars attorneys from talking to the media about cases.
A Leadville couple sued Kent Funeral Homes in July, alleging that the Gypsum location provided them with commingled and unlabeled cremains of a stillborn infant, including bone fragments of a larger adult. Court records show the case was settled last month, but no details were available.
“I can tell you there was a settlement, but not the amount or the terms,” said Remington Fang, the attorney for the couple.