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Bannock County Prosecutors Office files initial charges in Downard Funeral Home investigation, Pocatello Police still investigating

by | Aug 30, 2022 | Newsroom, Prosuctor Press Releases

POCATELLO, Idaho — Following an investigative report from the Pocatello Police Department, the Bannock County Prosecutor’s Office filed initial charges against Lance Peck, owner and director of Downard Funeral Home & Crematory, on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2022. 

Peck, 47, of Pocatello, was charged with 63 misdemeanors primarily relating to the Mortician’s Code of Conduct, all of which are listed below. Peck was booked into the Bannock County Detention Center on Tuesday evening following a warrant issued for his arrest. 

Peck is expected to be arraigned later this week. 

The timing for filing these misdemeanor charges was driven by Idaho’s statute of limitations, which requires misdemeanor charges to be filed within one year after the date of the offense. The deadline to file misdemeanor charges is Sept. 1, 2022, one year after the investigation into Downard Funeral Home & Crematory began. 

The Bannock County Prosecutor’s Office expects additional charges to be filed in the future. Felonies are punishable by incarceration of more than one year in prison, whereas misdemeanors are punishable by not more than one year. 

The results of the investigation, which is still ongoing, were delivered to the Prosecutor’s Office in mid-June 2022. Two prosecutors have been assigned to review the findings of the investigation, which is comprised of approximately 4,500 pages. The investigation touches upon a number of Idaho statutes, including vital statistics, anatomical donations, and the conduct of morticians. 

“In all my years, I have never seen a case so disturbing as this one. Our hearts go out to the family members affected by this tragic event, to the community, and to all the officers involved,” said Pocatello Police Chief Roger Schei. 

There are 88 deceased persons who have been the subject of this investigation. 

Further details from the Prosecutor’s Office will be limited going forward. Idaho Rules of Professional Conduct limit prosecutors from making statements outside the courtroom on pending cases. 

“This is likely one of the most complex investigations ever conducted in Bannock County, and involves unique areas of law and a great number of people who have been impacted by this event,” Herzog said. “I ask for your collective patience as this process moves forward and your continued compassion and respect for those impacted. Our hearts are with the families at this time.” 

The Pocatello Police and Bannock County Prosecutor’s Office are grateful to all the agencies who assisted or are assisting in the investigation. The investigation was led by the Pocatello Police Department, with assistance from various other state and local agencies. 

All suspects of a crime are presumed innocent until proven guilty by a court of law. 

Family members of the deceased persons who have questions or would like an update on the status of the case are encouraged to provide their contact information using the following link: https://forms.gle/dev9c4BL7ZfGhP2u5. For questions or help using the link, please contact investigators at 208-234-6121. Only family members who have had previous contact with the Pocatello Police investigators will be provided information concerning the investigation or a specific case. 

Arrested: Lance Peck, 47, Pocatello 

Charged: Violation of Mortician’s Code of Conduct (M) 59 cts 

                 Petit Theft (M) 3 cts 

                 Violation of Records Regarding Cremations (M) 1 ct 

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