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updated: 12/3/2010 4:47 PM

Libertyville funeral home still open, but legal woes may not be over

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A Libertyville funeral director's decision to plead guilty to felony charges doesn't necessarily end the business' legal problems, an attorney said Friday.

A state investigation into Marcee Dane and the Burnett-Dane Funeral Home remains open, said Don Morrison, the lawyer representing Dane and the business her family owns.

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Morrison declined to comment further on the state investigation because it's ongoing.

Regardless of the investigation, Morrison said, the funeral home one of the more well-known facilities in Lake County remains open and operating with three funeral directors.

"They plan on continuing to hold services for the residents of Lake County well into the future," he said.

A spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation declined to comment on the investigation or to even confirm its existence.

"By law, we do not confirm or deny that we are investigating any of our licensees," spokeswoman Sue Hofer said.

Dane, 32, was sentenced to 30 days in jail, was fined and had her license suspended Thursday after pleading guilty to the desecration of human remains.

She admitted attempting to conceal that two sets of cremated remains brought to Burnett-Dane earlier this year had been labeled with the same name and given to the wrong families.

The men involved were John Fagerstrom of Libertyville and Robert Tambourine of Northbrook. Relatives of both men made funeral arrangements with Burnett-Dane, and both men were cremated at Lakewood Crematorium in Lake Bluff.

Due to the labeling error, Tambourine's remains were scattered by Fagerstrom's family and can't be recovered.

After discovering the mistake, Dane went to a Des Plaines cemetery, dug up a grave and retrieved the urn containing Fagerstrom's remains and removed a portion of the ashes.

She kept the remains until she and her attorney decided to cooperate with Lake and Cook county investigators.

At that point, Dane and Morrison provided documents, statements and anything else officials asked for, Morrison said.

The mix-up and Dane's resulting actions were out of character and isolated, Morrison said.

"We wanted the truth to be told," he said. "There was absolutely no evidence that any employee of Burnett-Dane Funeral Home acted inappropriately regarding any of the services provided ... other than (in) this case."

In addition to the jail time, Dane must make donations of $5,000 to the Lake and Cook County Crime Stoppers organizations, and surrender her funeral director's license for 30 months.

She cannot work in the funeral business or have any contact with Burnett-Dane during that time.

Morrison called the situation "devastating" to his clients, "who have devoted their entire lives to easing the sorrow of others."

Nancy O'Connor, John Fagerstrom's sister, said she hopes the state will investigate the matter and take "whatever action is appropriate."

Representatives of the Tambourine families could not be reached for comment Friday.

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