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Former Lynn man on trial in gruesome crematory case

The Daily ItemLYNN ? A former Massachusetts medical examiner and son of a prominent Lynn doctor is on trial in Brentwood, N.H., for allegedly signing cremation burial certificates without viewing the bodies.Dr. Putnam Pope Breed of Hampton Falls, N.H., son of the late Lynn physician Robert T. Breed, stands accused of taking money for signing the certificates.Breed’s trial began Monday in Rockingham County Superior Court on nine charges of falsifying documents and four counts of theft. Prosecutor Thomas Reid told the court Breed had an exclusive business relationship with the Bayview Crematory in Seabrook in which he signed cremation certificates without actually inspecting the deceased.Authorities closed the Bayview Crematory in February 2005 after police found a 50-year-old woman’s decomposing body in a broken refrigerator, unidentified body parts, and incomplete records. Bodily fluids were on the floor. Police seized 12 black plastic containers with remains. Seven had metal tags and files identifying them; five did not. Investigators also discovered evidence that a fetus and a decedent had been placed in the same crematory oven.Breed was previously a district medical examiner in Massachusetts. Derek Wallace, former owner of the Bayview Crematory and co-owner of Simplicity Funeral & Cremation Services in Salisbury, Mass., hired him to inspect the bodies and issue the appropriate documents. For this service, Breed received $35 per certificate, according to the prosecutor.Reid said the crematory handled as many as 2,000 bodies a year from Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine. Breed profited from the lucrative business, the prosecutor said.James Fuller, a crematory employee, told investigators Bayview charged $225 for a cremation, including transportation costs, compared to $175 to $400 for other crematories, which charge extra for transporting the remains. The same employee said he often transported bodies, including those used in medical research, and that he picked up as many as 10 bodies at a time from Harvard University.Breed’s lawyer, Phil Utter, said his client has broken no laws. At the time of the alleged offenses, there were no state regulations regarding cremation certificates, he said.Breed attended Lynn English High School, graduated from Amherst College in 1960, and later from the Boston University Medical School. Records on file at The Item indicate that while a high school junior classman, Breed received life-threatening second- and third-degree burns on 65 percent of his body. He made a complete recovery by the time he graduated from college.During the late 1960s, he served two years in Vietnam as a U.S. Army captain and was awarded the Bronze Star medal of valor. In 1985, he was appointed medical examiner for the Newburyport and Amesbury district.

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