Investigates

Saddler Funeral Home in Lebanon, where Reid Van Ness stored bodies for months at a time. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Funeral board warns consulates against unlicensed Tennessee funeral director as more bodies go missing

BY: and - May 13, 2021

Tennessee officials this week cautioned the Mexican and Guatemalan consulates in Atlanta against doing business with an ex-funeral director and embalmer who lost his licenses more than a year ago for failing to send bodies of deceased immigrants overseas for burial.

Tyson Foods’ expansion in west Tennessee is pitting longtime farmers against one of the nation’s biggest protein suppliers

BY: - May 3, 2021

BEECH BLUFF, TN — Larry Blankenship and his wife, Monica, lived in a trailer on his father’s farm for more than 30 years while saving for a home of their own. They finally did in 2019, moving into a pretty one-story ranch built where their trailer used to be.  But their joy was short-lived; the […]

Joan and Michael Berry, Johnia Berry's parents, in their Knoxville home. A portrait of Johnnia as a little girl hangs in the background. (Photo: Patrick Murphy-Racey)

‘A massive breakdown in the system’: Tennessee has failed to collect DNA from 76,000 violent offenders

BY: - April 19, 2021

KNOXVILLE — After the brutal murder of their 21-year-old daughter in 2004—and in the years that followed without an arrest—Joan and Mike Berry channelled their grief, and their rage, into a fight for stronger victim protections. Johnia Berry was stabbed more than 20 times by a home intruder six weeks after she moved to west […]

The exterior of Saddler Funeral Home in Lebanon, one of two funeral homes at which Reid Van Ness was storing bodies he had promised to send to other countries. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Tennessee officials warn funeral businesses about unlicensed director

BY: - March 23, 2021

Tennessee officials have issued a warning to funeral businesses about working with an unlicensed, ex-funeral director after a series of scandals, including the negligent storage of bodies. Reid Van Ness surrendered his license as a funeral director and embalmer in March 2020 after state officials found that at least 10 bodies he was paid to […]

Lara Castillos featured

El Estado de Tennessee investigará nuevas acusaciones contra un director de funerarias que continúa explotando a la familias inmigrantes

BY: - February 25, 2021

Director de funerales y embalsamador de Tennessee entrega sus licencias a principios de 2020 después de no haber devuelto los cuerpos a México, Honduras y Guatemala para su respectivo funerales, aun así siguió ofreciendo servicios funerarios a comunidades de inmigrantes y a descuidado nuevamente, en al menos un caso reciente, la  entregar de los restos […]

Lara Castillos featured

State to investigate new allegations that Tennessee funeral director continues to exploit grieving immigrant families

BY: and - February 25, 2021

A Tennessee funeral director and embalmer who surrendered his licenses early in 2020 after he failed to return bodies to Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala for burials has continued to offer funeral services in immigrant communities — and, in at least one recent instance, neglected for months to deliver remains to a grieving family. Roommates and […]

Saddler Funeral Home in Lebanon, where Reid Van Ness stored bodies for months at a time. (Photo: John Partipilo)

A Tennessee funeral director made promises to immigrant families; he didn’t deliver

BY: and - February 11, 2021

Ramy Jadiel Ajualip Primero, the baby in his family, died unexpectedly at just 18 months old. He was rushed to the hospital after experiencing convulsions. A grim prognosis ensued. With no hope for recovery, the boy was taken off life support 15 days later.  In shock, Ramy’s parents were certain of one thing: they wanted […]

Saddler Funeral Home in Lebanon, where Reid Van Ness stored bodies for months at a time. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Director de funerarias hizo promesas a familias inmigrantes y no cumplió

BY: - February 11, 2021

Ramy Jadiel Ajualip Primero, el bebé de su familia, murió inesperadamente con solo 18 meses de edad. Fue trasladado de urgencia al hospital después de sufrir convulsiones. Se produjo un pronóstico sombrío. Sin esperanza de recuperación, el niño fue retirado del soporte vital 15 días después. En estado de shock, los padres de Ramy estaban […]

Nashville Electric Service (Photo: NES Facebook)

Nashville Electric Service temporarily relents on disconnections

BY: - January 6, 2021

Nashville Electric Service has once again suspended disconnections for non-payment of utility bills through January 31 at the urging of Mayor John Cooper and Vice Mayor Jim Shulman following a report by Tennessee Lookout detailing thousands of shut-offs among city residents. The utility company’s grace period for customers unable to pay their electric bills during […]

One of many Facebook pages advertising sale of Teacup Yorkshire terriers.

Fake COVID-19 cures, money mules and puppies: Scams on the rise

BY: - December 10, 2020

With a pandemic raging on and many folks working from home, it’s never been a better time to introduce a furry friend into the family, but the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warns that scammers have adapted to the pandemic as well. Like many Americans this year, Kati Rager, 32, hoped to find a puppy to […]

The temporary homeless shelter at the Nashville Fairgrounds Expo Center. (Photo: Colby Sledge)

As cold weather and homelessness converge, advocates criticize lack of safe housing measures

BY: - December 4, 2020

At the convergence point of a deadly pandemic and the coldest weather of the year, a plan in Nashville for an overflow shelter for people without homes is drawing criticisms from community advocates who have been frustrated by the city’s response to homelessness throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Nashville’s cold weather shelter opened this week to […]

Metro Nashville Health Department and Lentz Clinic (Photo: Metro Health, Facebook)

Nashville health director under Human Resources investigation

BY: and - November 18, 2020

Metro Department of Public Health Director Dr. Michael Caldwell is the subject of multiple human resources complaints, which are currently under investigation. Complaints to the Metro Human Resources Department are not a public record until an investigation is completed. Multiple sources told the Tennessee Lookout the complaints are serious in nature.  Caldwell could not immediately […]