LEWISTON — The state Board of Funeral Services agreed to a consent decree Tuesday morning that will indefinitely extend the suspension of funeral licenses for Affordable Cremation Solution of Lewiston and its owner, Kenneth Kincer.

The consent decree was negotiated by Assistant Attorney General Betsey Stivers and Kincer’s attorney, John Clifford of Lisbon Falls, said hearing officer Mark Terison. The decree will keep the license suspensions in place until a future public hearing when all complaints related to Kincer and his business can be heard at the same time.

The idea is for all pending matters involved the parties to be consolidated “in a more efficient manner in one hearing,” Terison wrote in a July 7 memorandum. The public hearing planned for the Tuesday meeting was postponed.

The board began investigating Kincer’s business at 643 Main St. in April following complaints that people were unable to contact Kincer or retrieve loved ones’ bodies. A state investigator found five uncremated bodies in temporary, unrefrigerated storage, according to a report board chairperson Chad Poitras issued June 14. Kincer told the state investigator at the time that he had been ill.

After hearing additional complaints, a state investigator returned twice to Affordable Cremation in June and found 11 unrefrigerated bodies. Five of them had been there since mid-May.

The report also said that the state had received far fewer completed death certificates than there were remains found at Affordable Cremation, and that loved ones were trying desperately to contact the business to gain possession of their loved ones without success.

The board suspended the funeral licenses for Kincer and his business June 14, with Poitras writing in his report that “the health and physical safety of the public are in immediate jeopardy.” While the suspensions are in place, Kincer “may not practice any aspect of funeral service, including without limitation accepting new deceased people’s human remains, forwarding any deceased people’s human remains to a crematorium, holding any funeral service or any other activity of a funeral practitioner.”

The state is working directly with the families and loved ones of the deceased, said Jennifer Hawk of the Office of Professional and Occupational Regulation.

A date for the future hearing has not yet been set and the public must be notified before any hearing. The next meeting of the board is scheduled for Sept. 14 to be held in-person at the Maine Department of Professional and Financial Regulation offices at 76 Northern Ave. in Gardiner. Details about the meeting can be found online.

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