COLUMBUS, Ohio – Fourteen families have claimed some of the cremated remains found at a southwest Ohio home that was under foreclosure and co-owned by a former funeral home director, and two cemeteries have offered to provide a crypt for the remains that go unclaimed, a coroner’s office said Tuesday.
Some families came forward and officials contacted others after labeled, dated boxes containing the cremated remains of 56 people were found stored in a closet at a Dayton home last week, said Ken Betz, director of the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office. They were the same remains a state regulatory agency found last year at a funeral home that is now closed.
Betz said officials are cross-referencing information, including autopsy and cremation documentation, to find and notify next of kin who might claim the remains.
“We’re working on it as fast as information becomes available to us,” he said.
Betz said he hopes to complete the process in seven to 10 more days but that it depends on how quickly officials can reach the families. That’s more complicated when relatives aren’t listed and when the deaths date to the early 1990s, he said.
He said two cemeteries offered to provide a crypt and permanent documentation for any of the remains that go unclaimed.
The remains were found this month by a contractor hired to remove items from a house co-owned by former funeral director Scherrie McLin and another woman.
The head of the state Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors has said investigators for the board found the same remains at the McLin Funeral Home last October but didn’t have authority to remove them. The board later revoked the licenses of McLin and the funeral home after a state investigation revealed violations of state laws and administrative codes, the board executive director said.
Police Lt. Wendy Stiver said Tuesday that the investigation has been forwarded to the county prosecutor’s consumer fraud division, which would decide whether the case merits charges. She said police have not interviewed the women who owned the home.