Steven Napper had had enough, and in his case that meant he had seen too many bodies haphazardly placed in a Falls Church funeral home’s garage, deceased veterans resting on racks for months awaiting burial, and practices that were generally disrespectful to the dead.
So the embalmer — a retired Maryland state trooper — chose to become a high-profile whistleblower, telling Virginia authorities about abuses he had witnessed within the nation’s largest funeral services company. He then explained it all in a front-page Washington Post investigation in 2009. He left National Funeral Home and its parent Service Corporation International just as the situation reached its peak.
Then the Virginia Board for Funeral Directors and Embalmers found SCI responsible for inappropriate treatment of bodies and issued one of the harshest fines it has ever meted out. Virginia legislators, spurred by what Napper had witnessed, changed Virginia laws to require funeral homes to follow stricter methods of storing and handling bodies.
Napper has since opened a funeral home of his own.